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Illinois State women’s basketball dropped another pair of weekend games, this time to Southern Illinois and Evansville. The Redbirds have yet to sweep a weekend series this season.

Coming into the weekend, the Redbirds had the chance to gain ground in the Missouri Valley Conference standings as the remaining three games in their schedule were against three teams directly above them in standings.

This weekend’s games did not go ISU’s way and it was officially given the No. 9 seed when they head to the MVC Hoops in the Heartland Tournament next week.

Poor shooting and turnovers haunted the Redbirds this weekend, the same as it has been all season.

Feb. 26: Evansville 60,

Illinois State 56

ISU (7-21, 4-13 MVC) trailed by as much as 19 points in the contest before trying to mount a fourth-quarter comeback that fell short.

“We dug ourselves in too big of a hole today and could not put enough shots in the basket,” ISU head coach Barb Smith said.

Evansville (11-16, 6-10 MVC) would go on a 20-4 run to give them its largest lead, 28-9, just before halftime.

Illinois State held the Purple Aces to just one basket the final 3:31 of the second quarter before heading into halftime trailing, 30-17.

ISU shot just 23 percent from the field in the first half, compared to Evansville’s 50 percent. The tides turned in the third quarter as ISU shot 44 percent while Evansville shot 29 percent, allowing the Redbirds to cut the Purple Aces lead to 10 points heading into the fourth quarter.

The Purple Aces lead was trimmed even further, as the Redbirds went on a 10-2 run, cutting the lead to 50-48.

ISU would fall down six once more before Brechelle Beachum knocked down a shot with 10 seconds remaining in the game to cut the lead back to two.

Evansville would ice the game, making 10 free throws in the final two minutes of play.

“After halftime, we were more aggressive on both ends of the court, which helped us get back in the game,” Smith said.

Katrina Beck led all scorers with 18 points.

Beck also had a game-high three steals.

Taylor Stewart contributed 14 of her points, as Stewart and Beck would be the only Redbirds to reach double figures in the contest.

Illinois State turned the ball over 19 times Sunday, making it back-to-back games with 19 turnovers.

The Redbirds outscored the Purple Aces inside the paint, 40-30.

Evansville had four players notch double digits in Sunday’s contest.

Sara Dickey scored 15 points, Camary Williams followed with 12 points, Kerri Gasper added 11 points and Brooke Dossett contributed 10 points.

The Redbirds will conclude the 2016–17 season when they travel to Bradley on Saturday.

ISU will be the No. 9 seed in Hoops in the Heartland, which takes place on March 9-12 at the iWireless Center in Moline.

MICHAEL MARRA is a Sports Reporter for The Vidette. He can be contacted atvidette_mmarra@ilstu.edu Follow him on Twitter at @MikeMarraILSTU

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