(MCT) — SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Despite a 23-point effort from Jamie Russell, the Illinois State women’s basketball team couldn’t slow down Missouri State in a 91-76 loss Missouri Valley Conference loss on Sunday at JQH Arena.
Missouri State’s 91 points is the most points ISU has allowed this season.
The Redbirds grabbed an early 6-4 lead, but a 9-0 run by the Lady Bears over the next three minutes gave the hosts a 13-6 advantage. Alexis Foley, who scored a career-high 12 points, tried to keep the Redbirds in the game early, connecting 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 30-26 with 8:26 left before the break.
The two teams traded baskets until Illinois State went on an 11-4 run, capped by a 3-pointer by Candace Sykes. That pulled the Redbirds even at 43-all with just under two minutes to play in the half. Octavia Crump had back-to-back steals in the run to spark 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 47-43 at intermission.
In the second half, the Redbirds got back within one, but the Lady Bears answered with a 7-0 run to take a 62-54 advantage with 13:43 left in the game. ISU pulled to within five but MSU quickly went on a 9-0 run while the Redbirds were missing six straight shot attempts. Missouri State (11-10, 3-6) went on to grab a 14-point lead, 74-60, on a 3-pointer by Kenzie Williams.
Russell then picked up the Redbirds, scoring seven straight points to cut the Lady Bears’ lead to 82-72 with 3:44 to play. But Missouri State ended the game with a 9-4 run to keep ISU at bay.
Besides being ISU’s leading scorer, Russell added five rebounds, six assists and three steals. Brianna Puni netted 10 points and grabbed five rebounds.
Missouri State made 50 percent of its field goal attempts to 39 percent for the Redbirds. Illinois State (13-8, 5-4) was outrebounded 47-39.
Forward Whitney Edie had 20 points to lead five Bears in double figures while also pulling down a game-high 13 rebounds. Karly Buer added 15 points while Williams and Tyonna Snow chipped in 14 each.
Illinois State will return to Redbird Arena to open the second half of its Valley schedule with a 7:05 p.m. tip-off Friday against Creighton.