The Illinois State University women’s basketball team (17-10, 9-7 MVC) faced off against the Southern Illinois University Salukis (15-12, 7-9 MVC) as the Redbirds beat them 66-56 in Normal on the Redbirds’ Senior Day.
ISU junior guard Juliunn Redmond shouldered the Redbirds’ offensive load in the fourth quarter, providing instant offense scoring a crucial 10 fourth-quarter points.
Paige Saylor led the Redbirds in scoring with 14 points as the Redbirds edged out SIU in what was a tightly contested affair for most of the game.
The Redbirds’ defense played well in the first quarter, guarding the Salukis well and holding them to 26% shooting.
In addition, ISU’s defense forced three airballs from SIU in the first quarter. The Redbirds’ offense also played well with Mary Crompton leading them with two three-pointers, as they ended the first quarter up 17-12.
The second quarter was a different story for the Redbirds as they went cold offensively. SIU held the Redbirds scoreless for the first six minutes until a Saylor layup ended their drought.
The Redbirds countered with a 9-2 run in the last three minutes of play as their defense also came alive in the latter half of the second, only letting up two points in the last four minutes of play. The Redbirds ended the half up 28-23.
Again, in the third quarter, the Redbirds were forced to rely on their defensive play as the their offense went completely dormant. ISU had a run of six turnovers in a three-minute stretch.
Still, the Redbirds’ defense held firm throughout the quarter limiting the SIU offense to only 13 points. The Redbirds barely held their lead at the end of third with the score being 40-36.
The fourth quarter stayed largely the same until the substitution of Redmond at 5:08. Redmond provided instant offense as she went on a personal 8-0 run which included an and one conversion. She ended the quarter with 10 points overall as the Redbirds pulled away to seal the game at Redbird arena 66-56.
“I know the offense was a little sluggish, but I just stayed in the course of the game and let the game come to me. It didn’t come to me as much at the beginning of the game but in the end, I knew I had to step up and give something,” Redmond said on her fantastic fourth-quarter play.
ISU head coach Kristen Gillespie discussed Redmond’s impact and praised her impact in the fourth quarter.
“I thought she was outstanding ... We talk about it all year, we want to be a team with multiple threats," Gillespie said. "There are times where our bench is short … but then there are sometimes when we can go a little bit deeper and it’s just awesome to see.”