Jamie Russell led Illinois State in the loss. (Photo By B Corbin/WJBC)
By WJBC Staff
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Despite Jamie Russell’s 23 points, the Illinois State women’s basketball team couldn’t slow down Missouri State, as it shot its way to a 91-76 victory Sunday at JQH Arena. MSU’s (11-10, 3-6 MVC) 91 points is the most points allowed by ISU (13-8, 5-4 MVC) this season.
Russell had five rebounds, six assists and three steals in 37 minutes. Alexis Foley scored a career-high 12 points off of four three pointers, which set a career-high. Brianna Puni netted 10 points and brought down five rebounds. Illinois State was out-rebounded by eight in the game. Missouri State made 50 percent of its field goal attempts, while the Redbirds made 39 percent of its shots. Missouri State had 56 points in the game compared to Illinois State’s 26.
The Redbirds grabbed an early 6-4 lead, but a 9-0 run by the Lady Bears that lasted over three minutes gave a seven-point advantage to MSU, 13-6. Foley kept the Redbirds in the game early, as she connected on three shots beyond the arc in the first eight minutes of the game. Russell and Maddie Oliver combined for eight points to get ISU back within four, 30-26, with 8:26 left before the break.
The two teams traded baskets, until Illinois State went on an 11-4 run to tie the game off of a three pointer by Candace Sykes, 43-43, with just under two minutes to play before the break. Octavia Crump had back-to-back steals in the run to give a new life to the Redbirds, but Missouri State connected on a pair of free throws and made a jumper at the buzzer to give the Lady Bears a four-point lead, 47-43, at the half.
ISU was led by Russell, who had 10 points, shooting 50 percent from the field in the opening half, and had four assists and two steals. Foley added nine points, while Oliver had six rebounds. Illinois State had 18 rebounds and Missouri State brought down 17. MSU shot 52 percent from the field in the first half, while ISU connected on 49 percent of its shots.
In the second half, the Redbirds got back within one, but the Lady Bears answered and went on a 7-0 run to take an eight-point advantage, 62-54, with 13:43 left in the game. ISU went on a 4-0 run to get back within five, 65-60, but MSU quickly answered with a 9-0 run, as the Redbirds missed six-straight field goal attempts. Missouri State grabbed a 14-point lead, 74-60, off of a three pointer by Kenzie Williams.
After getting down by 16, Russell picked up the Redbirds, scoring seven-straight points to cut the Lady Bears’ lead to 10 points, 82-72, with 3:44 to play. MSU ended the game with a 9-4 run, as it defeated ISU, 91-76.
Illinois State will return to Redbird Arena, as it opens the second half of Valley play against Creighton, Friday, and Drake, Sunday, for the Play4Kay game. Friday’s game is scheduled for 7:05 p.m., while Sunday’s game will begin at 2:05 p.m. Coverage of both contests will be available on WJBC AM 1230 and FM 93.7.