Women's Basketball Hosts Wisconsin-Parkside in Exhibition Game
Oct. 31, 2012
NORMAL, Ill. -
The Illinois State women's basketball team is set to host Wisconsin-Parkside, Thursday, in an exhibition game at 6:05 p.m. in Redbird Arena. The game against the Rangers is the only exhibition game the Redbirds will play before the 2012-13 regular season.
Illinois State returns 10 letterwinners from the 2011-12 team that advanced to the second round of the WNIT, making its sixth-straight postseason appearance. The Redbirds lost two starters from that team, but they return four starters and a solid core of contributors.
The team was picked to finish in the top-five for the sixth time in the last seven seasons, as the Redbirds were projected to finish third in the Missouri Valley Conference Preseason Poll for the 2012-13 season, as voted on by the league's head coaches, sports information directors and media.
Illinois State received 323 votes in the poll, including two first-place votes. ISU has been picked in the top-five in 19 of the 30 preseason polls in conference history. The Redbirds have been picked to finish third eight times in program history. The last time the team was picked to finish third was prior to the 2004-05 season, when the Redbirds finished eighth with a 7-11 conference record.
Senior guard Jamie Russell, the 2012 Valley Newcomer of the Year, was selected as a MVC Preseason All-Conference selection. Russell is coming off of a strong junior season and looks to lead the Redbirds through the 2012-13 season as the returning Redbird with most minutes played. Russell was the 2012 Missouri Valley Conference Newcomer of the Year and an All-MVC First Team and All-Defensive Team selection. She was also named the team's Most Valuable Player, along with Katie Broadway, as well as the Best Defensive and Hustle Awards. She started all 32 games last season and led the Redbirds in free-throw percentage (.794), assists (109) and steals (82). The Rock Falls, Ill., native was named the Valley Newcomer of the Week six times during the regular season and had 18double-digit scoring efforts in the last 22 games.
Wisconsin-Parkside is an NCAA Division II institution and competes in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. The Rangers were 24-6 last season with a conference record of 15-3, claimed an East Division regular-season title and advanced to the NCAA Midwest Regional Final for the second-straight season. Wisconsin-Parkside was ranked No. 25 in the Women's Basketball Coaches Association's 2102-13 preseason USA TODAY Sports/ESPN Division II Top-25 women's basketball poll.
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