The Illinois State women’s basketball team opened up its final home stand with a win on Friday, but finished with a disappointing loss Sunday on senior day.
Friday’s game was a gutty win, with the Redbirds making fewer mistakes at the end when it mattered. Sunday was all Missouri State as the Redbirds were defeated by 33 points. The Redbirds have three games remaining until they take part in Hoops in the Heartland, part of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament. Illinois State has to get Hannah Green healthy, as well as tone up its offense and defense before making the trip to the Quad Cities.
Redbirds say goodbye to seniors, can’t send them out on top in last home game
Missouri State (14-11, 10-4 MVC), the defending Missouri Valley Conference champions, dampened the senior day festivities by defeating the Redbirds, 77-44.
Illinois State (7-19, 4-11 MVC) couldn’t build off its win from Friday, as Missouri State came in looking to avenge its Friday loss to Bradley.
The Redbirds got off to a hot start, going on a 7-2 run to start the game behind two points from both Brechelle Beachum and Taylor Stewart, along with a three pointer from Katrina Beck.
Missouri State would answer right back with a 9-0 run of its own, before Hannah Green stopped the bleeding with a baseline jumper. The Redbirds would not lead the rest of the game.
Illinois State would end the first quarter, going 2-of-9 from the field, without scoring the last 2:03 of the quarter.
The Bears held a 16-10 advantage after quarter one. Missouri State would control most of the second quarter, as Illinois State’s shooting struggles continued. The Bears would take their largest lead of the game at 31-16, a 15 point advantage, before an ISU timeout with 1:11 remaining in the first half. Missouri State would extend its lead to 17 before heading into halftime with a 33-16 lead.
The Bears closed out the first half on an 8-0 run, while ISU was held scoreless for the last 5:19 of the second quarter.
The Redbirds shot just 13 percent in the second quarter, going 2-of-16 from the field. They wouldn’t go down without a fight, as Missouri State won the third quarter 21-18.
Eighteen points in the third quarter was better than the 16 points they had the entire first half. However, Missouri State would grab a 23 point lead, the largest of the game to that point, in the third quarter.
Heading into the fourth quarter, ISU would trail 54-34.
Missouri State would jump out to its largest lead of the game, 63-38, before ISU took a timeout. The Bears would go on to win the game by 33, while leading by as much as 35.
Seniors Stewart and Beachum checked out of the game with just over three minutes left in the game. The two lone seniors received a standing ovation from the Redbird Arena crowd.
“Missouri State was on mission, they just lost their last game and came in fired up,” head coach Barb Smith said. “I’m not sure we had the same energy we had on Friday," she said of their victory.
Missouri State was led by four players who scored double digits Sunday. Lexi Hughes led the way with 13 points, while Aubrey Buckley and Danielle Gitzen each scored 11 and Shameka Ealy rounded out the scoring with 10 of her own.
The Redbirds have three games remaining in the regular season. ISU returns to the court Friday, when it travels to Southern Illinois.