Alexis Jenkins contributed 10 points, including a clutch jumper to put ISU ahead for good. (WJBC File Photo)
By WJBC Staff
NORMAL - After surrendering an 11-point lead and enduring a five-minute stretch without a field goal, the Illinois State women’s basketball team needed a play down the stretch to regain control of the game. Senior Alexis Jenkins delivered, hitting a jumper at the 3:01 mark to give the Redbirds a 65-63 lead they would not relinquish, as Illinois State (13-6, 5-2 MVC) defeated Indiana State (11-7, 3-4 MVC), 66-65, Friday night at Redbird Arena.
Jenkins scored 10 points on the evening and was one of four Redbirds to score in double figures, joining Jamie Russell (16), Janae Smith (15) and Candace Sykes (11). Anna Munn and Marina Laramie of Indiana State led all scorers with 17 points apiece, but it was Munn’s potential game-winning shot that clanged off the rim as time expired, ensuring a Redbird win.
After going on a 12-1 run to close out the first half with a 39-31 lead, the Redbirds extended their advantage to 11 at the outset of the second stanza on an Alexis Foley three-pointer, Illinois State’s first of the game. The Sycamores would chip away at the Redbird advantage for the next 14 minutes, grabbing their first lead, 61-60, since the 5:23 mark of the first half on a jumper from Laramie.
After a free throw from Brianna Puni momentarily evened the game, Laramie put the Sycamores back on top with two of her own from the charity stripe, making it 63-61 with 4:01 remaining. The Redbirds clamped down defensively from there, holding the Sycamores without a point for the next 3:52 while coming back for the win.
The Redbirds hit the road for their next two games, beginning with a trip to league-leading Wichita State for a 7 p.m., tip off Friday, Feb. 1. The squad will stay west of the Mississippi to play at Missouri State on Sunday, Feb. 3, at 2:05 p.m.
Both games will be broadcast on WJBC AM 1230 and FM 93.7.