The Redbirds' 15-game win streak against Bradley was snapped on Thursday night. (Photo By B Corbin/WJBC)
By WJBC Staff
Peoria - Despite Brianna Puni's double-double performance, the Illinois State (20-9, 12-5 MVC) women's basketball team fell to Bradley (14-14, 8-9 MVC), 71-69, Thursday at the Renaissance Coliseum.
Puni brought down 12 rebounds and scored 10 points in the second double-double effort of her career. With the win, Bradley snapped ISU's seven-game win streak and ended the Redbirds' 15-game win streak over the Braves.
Jamie Russell poured in 18 points, while Candace Sykes added 15 points, as Janae Smith grabbed seven boards for the Redbirds. After Bradley had a nine-board advantage in the first half, Illinois State regrouped and ended the game with 44 rebounds compared to Bradley's 42. Both teams had 14 offensive boards. The Redbirds shot 41 percent from the field, while the Braves connected on 40 percent of its shot attempts.
Bradley used a 9-2 scoring run to take a three-point lead, 9-6, early in the game, but Illinois State answered with a 7-0 run to take a 13-9 advantage with 13:13 to play. After going scoreless for nearly three minutes, Jenkins scored five-straight points for ISU, including a three from the top of the key, 18-11, with 9:34 to play. The Braves went without a basket for nearly four minutes until they used a 4-0 run to get within three, 18-15.
The two teams exchanged baskets and were tied twice in the final five minutes of the first half. The Redbirds took a two-point lead, 29-27, with 58 second left in the opening half, but a foul by Chloe Nelson with less than a second on the clock gave the Braves a pair of free throws. Katie Yohn made both free throws, as the two teams headed into the locker room tied, 29-29.
At the half, Sykes led the Redbirds with nine points, while Russell added six. ISU connected on 45 percent of its shot attempts, while BU sank 32 percent of its shots. Illinois State pulled down 17 rebounds, but the advantage on the boards went to Bradley with 26 rebounds, including 12 on the offensive end.
Illinois State forced Bradley into a shot clock violation and opened the second half with a 7-0 run, 36-29. The Braves answered with a 7-0 run of their own to tie the game at the 16:11 mark. BU went on another 6-0 run for a 42-40 lead, while ISU missed on four-straight possessions. As the two teams exchanged baskets, Russell and Sykes each had six-straight points for the Redbirds.
A 7-0 run gave the Redbirds a 62-55 lead with 6:08 to play, but a pair of free throws and a basket by the Braves put Bradley within three, 62-59. Foley sank five-straight points for ISU, including a three pointer to give Illinois State a 67-63 lead at the 4:34 mark of the second half. In a tied game, ISU had the ball with the shot clock turned off, as Russell drove the lane for the last second shot. Her shot attempt was blocked and Bradley came up with the ball and made a layup with one second left to get the 71-69 win.
ISU will play its final game of the regular season Saturday at Northern Iowa. The Redbirds and the Panthers will face off at 2 p.m. on WJBC FM 93.7 and on WJBC.com.