Illinois State University women’s basketball (19-10, 11-7 MVC) finished its regular season on a four-game winning streak after defeating Indiana State (5-25, 3-15 MVC) by a final score of 62-55 March 7.
The Redbirds were led by senior Lexi Wallen who finished the game with a game-high 18 points and nine rebounds while shooting 7-of-14 from the field.
Juliunn Redmond also added 14 points and six rebounds off the bench and TeTe Maggett finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and five assists in the win.
Both teams battled back and forth in the first quarter before a pair of Wallen free throws would put the Redbirds ahead 14-13 at the 1:29 mark. Illinois State would not trail from that point on.
Wallen finished the game shooting 4-of-4 from the free throw line, scoring eight of her points in the first half to lead the Redbirds into the break with a 31-25 lead.
Indiana State managed to tie the game 33-33 with 7:23 left to play in the third quarter, but a 7-0 scoring run once again put Illinois State ahead.
The Redbirds scored 10 points off Sycamore second-half turnovers and cruised to a 62-55 win in Terre Haute, Indiana.
It was a far from perfect outing for Illinois State, but the Redbirds managed to get the job done when it mattered most.
"We were a bit out of sync today, but we did enough down the stretch,” ISU head coach Kristen Gillespie said.
“I thought TeTe made some big shots and free throws towards the end and of course Wallen and JuJu came up big for us. At the end of the day we got the job done and we'll take the win."
Saturday’s win marks the fourth in a row and fifth in the last six games by the Redbirds who are on a roll heading into the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.
This is the second consecutive season where the Redbirds have finished with 19 wins, and the first time since the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons.
Illinois State will head into the postseason as the fourth seed and take on No. 5 Northern Iowa (18-11, 10-8 MVC) in the first round.
The Redbirds defeated UNI 65-57 at Redbird Arena on Jan. 26, and competed the regular season sweep 69-61 OT on Feb. 20 in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Tipoff between the Redbirds and Panthers is set for 2:30 pm March 13.