A second half surge on Sunday afternoon took the ISU women’s basketball team all the way to a 65-57 victory. In a comeback effort which included a season-high 25 free throws, the Redbirds (8-16, 7-7 MVC) topped conference foe Missouri State (12-14, 7-8 MVC) to stay even in conference play. In front of a crowd of 3,439 at JQH Arena in Springfield, Mo., ISU drained 44 points in the second half Sunday, the most points scored by ISU women in a half this season.
“Missouri State was outworking us in the first half, and we came out after halftime and turned it up,” head coach Barb Smith said. “We never looked back. We were getting the ball inside and getting fouled, and we finished it at the free throw line.”
To add to her career-high total 15 points on the day, Lindsay Smith was a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line. Chloe Nelson scored her own 15 points, while Katy Winge added 11 shooting five-for-eight from the field. Illinois State pulled down 43 rebounds, besting MSU by nine. Octavia Crump led the ’Birds on the boards, pulling down seven.
The Redbirds got an early lead over the Lady Bears, charging ahead to a 9-0 run three minutes in. Missouri State scored six-straight points to follow, with Illinois State then remaining silent through three minutes. A jump shot from Stekara Hall, at the 14:16 mark broke the scoreless streak, and began a short run for her team. The ’Birds fell back into a slump, however, as Missouri State went on a 12-0 run to take its first lead of the game, 18-14.
Nelson scored three straight to tie the game 18-all with 5:36 on the clock. The Lady Bears ended the half on a 9-4 run, with Katy Winge recording the last four points for ISU. At the half, the Redbirds went into the locker room carrying a five-point deficit, 27-22. Winge led Illinois State with seven points, while Nelson added five. ISU connected on 35 percent of its shots, while MSU was shooting 26 percent from the field. At the freethrow line, MSU shot 10-for-13 compared to ISU’s 3-for-9
Illinois State charged out of the locker room to regain the lead, using their momentum to go on a 12-1 run and reclaiming the lead, 36-30. MSU was not heard from for nearly five minutes during the run, as ISU managed nine-straight points.
The Lady Bears retaliated with two-straight and-one plays, but ISU’s Alison Seberger scored four-straight to give her team a 45-39 advantage with 8:29 left to play. The ’Birds then climbed 13, with nine-straight free throws, making the score 56-43. More late free throws secured the 65-57 win for the Redbirds.
The ISU women’s basketball team will return to Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena for the final homestand of the conference season, taking on Bradley, at 7:05 pm Thursday.