ISU Travels to In-State Rival Illinois for First Road Game Since Nov. 24

Dec. 20, 2012

Game 11 | illinois state at illinois
Date: Friday, Dec. 21 at 7 p.m.
Location: Champaign, Ill. | Assembly Hall
Game Notes: Illinois State | Illinois
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NORMAL, Ill. - The Illinois State women's basketball team will be back on the road for the first time in nearly a month, as it travels to Champaign, Ill., to take on in-state rival Illinois, Friday at 7 p.m., at the Assembly Hall.

In ISU's 67-50 loss against Princeton Wednesday, Janae Smith led Illinois State with 17 points and a career-high 16 boards, recording her second-straight double-double performance and her third of the season. Smith had a double-double at the half with 12 points and 10 rebounds heading into the locker room. Candace Sykes added 12 points for the Redbirds, while Brianna Puni pulled down a career-high seven rebounds.

Illinois State brought down one less rebound than Princeton, 42-41, including 18 offensive boards. The Redbirds only recorded nine fouls in the game, the second fewest of the season, but ISU struggled from the field, netting only 23.4 percent of its shot attempts, as Princeton sank 48 percent of its shots.

Friday's game will mark the 40th meeting between Illinois State and Illinois. The Illini hold a 21-19 advantage, winning the most recent game during the 2011-12 season on Dec. 7, 2011, in Normal, Ill. Illinois won by 10 points, 66-56. The series dates back to the 1971-72 season. The Illini hold a 9-5 record in games played in Urbana, Ill. The last time the two teams met at the Assembly Hall was on Nov. 12, 2010, when the Redbirds defeated the Illini, 69-62.

• Illinois is located in Urbana, Ill., and has an enrollment of 42,326
• The Illini are members of the Big Ten Conference
• The Fighting Illini ended the 2011-12 season with a 11-19 mark and were 5-11 in the Big Ten, tying for ninth place
• Illinois currently leads the Big Ten in scoring offense, averaging 74.2 points per game, ranking 29th nationally through Dec. 16
• In Illinois' win over Oregon (Dec. 12), all five starters recorded double-digit scoring performances

At the end of the Illinois State women's basketball 2012-13 nonconference schedule, the Redbirds will have faced off against four Big Ten opponents. The Redbirds fell to Iowa in the second round of the Preseason WNIT on Nov. 11, in Iowa City Iowa and Michigan on Dec. 5, but Illinois State defeated Northwestern by 18 points, 64-46, on Dec. 7. The Redbirds will travel to in-state rival Illinois Friday to face their last Big Ten rival. The Redbirds will have played two roads games and two home games against Big Ten opponents at the end of the nonconference schedule. ISU is no stranger when it comes to Big Ten opponents, as it has competed against every team that currently makes up the conference. The last time ISU competed against four Big Ten opponents in one season was during the 1990-91 campaign, when the Redbirds competed against Illinois, Indiana, Michigan State and Wisconsin. ISU went 3-1 over Big Ten rivals during that season.

The Redbirds and Illini have both faced off against Memphis this season, and by the end of the 2012-13 season, the two teams will have a handful of similar opponents. The Redbirds fell to Memphis, 76-74, in the Preseason WNIT (Nov. 18), while the Illini defeated the Tigers, 73-65, on Dec. 9 at Assembly Hall. Prior to Friday's game, ISU has competed against Illinois' Big Ten rivals Iowa, Michigan and Northwestern, while the Fighting Illini has seen Missouri Valley Conference foes Evansville and Bradley.

Against Princeton, Janae Smith led the Redbirds with 17 points, while also controlling the boards, pulling down a career-high 16 rebounds. It was the second-straight double-double performance for Smith and her third double-double of the season. She also accomplished the feat against Ball State, when she had 11 rebounds and 22 points, and at Western Kentucky with 12 rebounds and 11 points. Against the Tigers, Smith was 7-of-17 from the field, while grabbing 16 boards with five coming on the offensive end.

In the Redbirds' loss against Memphis, ISU's bench outscored the Tigers, 23-17, marking the first time this season Illinois State's bench outscored an opponent. Since the Memphis game, Illinois State has poured in more bench points than all of its opponents, marking eight-straight games the Redbirds have scored more bench points than their opponents. At Western Kentucky, ISU scored
35 bench points, a season high, compared to WKU's 22 points. The Redbird bench is outscoring opponents by 61 points, 206-145, through 10 games.

Against Princeton, the Redbirds brought down 41 rebounds, but the Tigers had one more board than Illinois State with 42. The
Redbirds grabbed twice as many offensive rebounds as the Tigers. ISU tallied 18 offensive boards, the third-highest offensive rebound output this season for ISU, while Princeton had nine. With the strong presence on the offensive boards, Illinois State had
12 second chance points, but only 20 came in the paint.

In ISU's game against Princeton Wednesday night, the Redbirds struggled from the field in the first half, shooting 28 percent
compared to the Tigers' 46 percent, but a strong showing on the boards and 11 more free throw attempts than Princeton sent the Redbirds into the locker room tied, 42-42, at the half. After struggling at the start of the game, the Redbirds regrouped and ended the first half with a 14-2 run, but after the break, it only got worse for Illinois State. ISU shot 18 percent from the field for the second half and connected on only 23.4 percent of its shots for the game, the lowest percentage in program history. The 17 point loss was ISU's largest losing margin of the season. Janae Smith was the only Redbird who seemed to find a rhythm, as she was 7-of-17 from the field, scoring 17 points. Your online source for Illinois State Athletics, tickets, Weisbecker Scholarship Fund gifts, multimedia, Redbird merchandise, photos and more.