The Illinois State women’s basketball team (10-20, 8-10, Missouri Valley Conference) defeated Northern Iowa at the Family Arena in St. Charles, Mo., in the quarterfinals of the Missouri Valley Conference women’s basketball tournament. The Redbirds resumed action on Saturday, but suffered a loss to Wichita State to end tournament play.
ISU vs. Wichita State
The Redbirds’ season concluded with a 66-50 loss to the Shockers in the Valley tournament semifinals.
“I was really happy with our fight,” ISU head coach Barb Smith said. “Our players played their hearts out and they stayed with their game play and did what they were supposed to do. We gave them some easy boards and easy shots, but for the most part we stuck to the game plan and just ran out of gas.”
Two double-digit scorers led the Redbirds in scoring including sophomore guard Lindsay Smith’s 14 points and sophomore guard Alexis Foley’s 12 points and five rebounds. Senior Chloe Nelson added five points, five rebounds and three assists for ISU.
WSU both outshot and outrebounded ISU in a victory for the Shockers. The Shockers outshot the Redbirds, 46 percent to 38 percent and WSU outrebounded ISU, 36-30. The Shockers recorded 44 points in the paint.
ISU scored the first seven points of the game to grab a 7-0 advantage, but the Shockers countered with seven points of their own to tie the score at 7.
The two teams were nip-and-tuck until Wichita State raced out to an eight-point advantage at 28-20. ISU ended the half on a 9-4 run to close the deficit to three at 32-29 including seven-straight points from Smith and a Taylor Stewart layup. WSU opened the second half on a 6-0 run to take a 38-29 lead.
The Shockers extended their lead to 51-36 with 12:21 left in the game, but ISU went on a 9-1 run including five-straight free throws and a jumper to make it, 52-45. The Redbirds closed the gap to 54-50 thanks to a Foley three-pointer and Nelson layup, but WSU scored 12 straight points to end the game with a 66-50 score.
ISU vs. Northern Iowa
ISU opened the MVC tournament with a 65-63 win over Northern Iowa. The ’Birds were led by Smith’s 25 points and six rebounds and junior guard Katy Winge’s 14 points.
ISU’s season-low six turnovers and second-half 55 percent shooting performance propelled the squad to the victory. The Redbirds outshot the Panthers, 47 percent to 39 percent in the game. The Redbirds still earned the victory despite the Panthers outrebounding ISU by 12.
The Redbirds took a 13-11 lead with 12:26 left in the first half and extended their lead even more to 22-15. Nelson recorded six of ISU’s first 13 points of the game. However, the Panthers countered with a 15-2 run to take a 30-24 lead and went into halftime with a 35-28 advantage.
ISU opened the second half on a 10-4 run including eight-straight points from Winge to close within one point at 39-38. The Redbirds grabbed a 42-41 lead via a Nelson jumper and two Foley free throws. ISU extended its advantage to five points at 54-49 thanks to a pair of Nelson jumpers. UNI responded with a 6-0 run to take a 55-54 lead with five minutes left in the game. From there the game was back and forth until Nelson hit a game-winning shot to give the Redbirds a 65-63 victory.