ISU Has New Year's Eve Date With Northern Illinois
Dec. 30, 2007
NORMAL, Ill. - As the page is about to turn on the calendar to 2008, the Illinois State women's basketball team (9-1) will squeeze in one final non-conference game in 2007. The Redbirds, who have already tied the best start in program history, host Northern Illinois (4-8) on New Year's Eve at 2:05 p.m. in their final game before Missouri Valley Conference play begins next weekend. The Huskies will be the fourth Redbird opponent from the Mid-American Conference this season. ISU won all three previous matchups with MAC teams.
"We wanted to have a game against a quality opponent between the holiday break and the beginning of conference play," said head coach Robin Pingeton. "Scheduling is not nearly as easy as most people may think it is, but we wanted to have a game to get our feet back under us a little bit. Last year, we went up to Northern Illinois and didn't play well. They dominated us in nearly every aspect and I think this game will be a challenge for us before conference play."
THE REDBIRDS-HUSKIES SERIES
Illinois State leads the all-time series with Northern Illinois, 10-5. The Redbirds have never lost consecutive games to the Huskies and have also never lost a game at home. The Redbirds and Huskies played nine times in the first 10 years of the series before taking an 18-year hiatus that lasted until 2000. The two teams have split the last two meetings over the past two seasons. Last year, Northern Illinois made 12 three-point field goals en route to a 97-69 victory in the season opener.
WHAT SOPHOMORE JINX?
Sophomore guard Maggie Krick is the Redbirds' leading scorer in the past two games (16.5 ppg). She led the `Birds to victory against Western Illinois with 21 points and has increased her scoring average through the first 10 games from 8.6 as a freshman to 12.6 as a sophomore. In the fourth game of the season against USF, Krick set career-highs in points (27), field goals (10), field goal attempts (13), three-point field goals (5) and assists (8). Krick scored the most points by a Redbird in a game since Kristi Cirone also netted 27 against Evansville on Jan. 6, 2006.
REDBIRDS RECEIVE NATIONAL ATTENTION
Illinois State's strong start to the season has garnered some national attention. ISU has received votes in the last six Associated Press Top-25 polls. In the poll released on Tuesday, Dec. 25, the Redbirds received 16 votes, the most yet this season, and were 34th in the nation. That same week, ISU received its first vote in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. In the CollegeRPI.com rankings (Dec. 30), Illinois State came in at 40, the highest Valley team, and has been as high as 22 this season.
WHY SHOOT JUMPERS WHEN YOU CAN SHOOT LAYUPS?
As strong as the Redbirds have been on the perimeter this season, their play in the paint has been equally as impressive. ISU has averaged 33 points in the paint per game so far this year. In the last four games, the `Birds have struggled from the outside with a .308 three-point shooting percentage (20-65) and have begun to move the ball inside and score more in transition. Over the last four contests, ISU is averaging 38 points in the paint per game, including a season-best 50 against Ball State. Sophomore forward Ashleen Bracey and sophomore center Nicolle Lewis have led the way with 13.5 ppg and 11.3 ppg, respectively, during that stretch.