Women's Hoops to Host Memphis in Third Round of Preseason WNIT

Nov. 16, 2012

Game 3 | illinois state vs. Memphis
Date: Sunday, Nov.18 at 5:05 p.m.
Location: Normal, Ill.. | Redbird Arena
Game Notes: Illinois State | Memphis
Live Stats: GoRedbirds.com
Twitter: @ISUwbb

NORMAL, Ill. -The Illinois State women’s basketball team fell by 10 points, 74-64, to Iowa at the Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Nov. 11, putting the Redbirds in the third round consolation bracket of the Preseason WNIT. ISU will host Memphis on Sunday at 5:05 p.m., in Redbird Arena.

Sunday’s game will mark the eighth meeting between Illinois State and Memphis. The two teams haven’t meet since 1980. The Tigers hold a 6-1 advantage, winning six-straight contests, but the Redbirds won the most recent game on Feb. 7, 1980, by a score of 72-58, in Memphis, Tenn. It was a yearly meeting between the Tigers and the Redbirds dating back to the 1974-75 season.

The Preseason WNIT is an annual invitation-only tournament involving 16 of the nation’s top women’s Division I basketball teams. A team may participate only once in a four year period. Additionally, only one institution per conference may play in the tournament in the same year. Teams are selected for the Preseason WNIT based on their program’s expected success for that season, their relevant past, their conference standings, fan base and geographical location. Eleven of the 16 teams competing in the 2012 Preseason WNIT Tournament are coming off of postseason berths.

Senior Jamie Russell and sophomore transfer Janae Smith were named the Missouri Valley Conference Player and Newcomer of the Week, as announced by the league office on Monday, Nov. 12. It is the seventh weekly Valley honor for Russell and the first for Smith. Russell set or tied a career high in five categories, including points, rebounds and steals and recorded the first double-double performance of her career in ISU’s game against Iowa. In the game, Russell tied a career-high with 30 points in the contest. The Rock Falls, Ill., native brought down 12 rebounds and recorded eight steals in the game, just missing a triple-double. After two games, the 2011-12 Valley Newcomer of the Year is averaging 25 points per game. She is perfect from the charity stripe (9-of-9), has 15 rebounds, eight assists and 11 steals. Smith, the College of Charleston transfer, just missed a double-double in her second performance as a Redbird, as the forward poured in 17 points and brought down nine boards, including five on the offensive end, in ISU’s loss at Iowa. She was 7-of-14 from the field in the game and recorded a block, steal and assist. Smith is the second-leading scorer for ISU after two games. She is averaging 12 points per game and has brought down 15 boards, with six being offensive.

The Redbirds enter the third round of the Preseason WNIT with a 1-1 record. Illinois State defeated Morehead State, 62-45, Friday, Nov. 9. In the game, the Redbirds were aggressive on defense, especially in the second half, as Morehead State only made 25 percent of its shots from the field (6-of-24), shooting 17-of-46 for the game (37 percent). The Redbirds also recorded10 steals, with Jamie Russell taking away three and four blocks, two coming from Janae Smith. Against Iowa, ISU fell by 10 points, 74-64, despite Russell’s career performance, The Hawkeyes’ 32 made free throws proved to be the difference of the game. ISU will host the Memphis Tigers on Sunday, Nov. 18, at 5 p.m.

ISU has been aggressive on the defensive side of the ball. In ISU’s season opener against Morehead State, the Redbirds recorded 10 steals and maintained the strong tempo, heading into the Iowa game, where the ‘Birds tallied 15 steals. Jamie Russell set a career-high eight steals against Iowa, while Chloe Nelson and Alexis Jenkins both recorded two steals.

The Redbirds outrebounded the Eagles by 17 boards, 40-23, in ISU’s 62-45 victory on Nov. 9. ISU brought down 18 rebounds in the first half, while MSU grabbed 10. In the second half, Illinois State kept the momentum going, as it recorded 22 boards compared to Morehead State’s 13. In ISU’s second round game at Iowa, the Redbirds brought down 44 boards, grabbing 22 each half. Illinois State had 17 offensive boards against Iowa and 13 against Morehead State.

In ISU’s loss to Iowa, the Hawkeyes shot 41 free throws compared to Illinois State’s 21. Iowa sank 32 of its 41 free throw attempts (78 percent) for the game in its 10-point victory. At the half, the Hawkeyes were 23-of-26 from the charity stripe, shooting 89 percent from the line. Illinois State committed 27 fouls in the game with 15 in the first half. The 27 fouls are seven more than ISU’s season-high 20 team fouls during the 2011-12 season, which came against Southern Illinois (12/30/12) and Missouri State (2/26/12). The last time a Redbird opponent made 30 or more free throws was during the 2010-11 season against Northern Iowa (3/5/11), when the Panthers made 32 from the line.

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