Women's Hoops Holds First Day of Practice

Oct. 4, 2013

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NORMAL, Ill. - With a new coaching staff at the helm of the Illinois State women's basketball program, the Redbirds assembled for their first day of practice of the 2013-14 season, Friday, on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena. On the first day of practice, the team had a morning practice at 6 a.m., and an afternoon practice at 2:45 p.m.

First-year head coach Barb Smith and her staff inherits a team that includes five newcomers, including Lindsay Smith, a transfer from Wisconsin, who will be eligible to play after the 2013 fall semester is completed due to NCAA transfer rules.

Eight players return from the 2012-13 season, including two starters in Brianna Puni and Alexis Foley. Maddie Oliver, Katy Winge and Chloe Nelsonalso have experience with starting assignments.

Smith was pleased with what she saw out of the team during ISU's opening practice.

"We felt like it was one of the best practices we had all year. We had worked out some individually, in groups and as a team," Smith said. "It wasn't the longest practice we have had, but it was one of the most intense and energetic, and it was at 6 a.m. Their attitude and effort, I can't say enough about them. They worked hard."

While the Redbirds lost nearly 70 percent of their offensive output from last season and each all-conference performer, ISU returns eight letterwinners and will rely on increased roles from Nelson and the upperclassmen, along with Foley.



"Everybody that played before us are done," Smith said. "So, all those stats and numbers are gone. Though we appreciate everything those players did, we now have opportunities, and the team has to step up. So, their opportunity is here. It is a clean slate. There are no starting spot guarantees. It is an opportunity to step up in every spot."

Despite the new look, the Redbirds have several key players returning who led the Redbirds during the 2012-13 season. Oliver led the team in field goal percentage (58 percent), while Foley had the best free throw percentage, connecting on 85 percent of her free throw attempts. Foley and Winge ended the 2012-13 season as the second and third-most productive three-point shooters on the team, respectively, while Puni enters the 2013-14 season as the team's top returner in several categories, including points and rebounds.

After a month of practice, the Redbirds will host Northwest Missouri State in an exhibition game, Nov. 3, at 1:05 p.m. Then, the team will travel for two road games, before returning to Redbird Arena to welcome Colorado State in its home opener, Nov. 23, at 4:05 p.m. Ticket purchases for the 2013-14 season can be made online at GoRedbirds.com or over the phone, by contacting the ticket office at (309) 438-8000.

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