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Three for the Show: Redbirds pick up their third win of the season

Three for the Show: Redbirds pick up their third win of the season

The Redbirds are all smiles after their dominant performance against Southern Illinois of Edwardsville (Photo Courtesy GoRedbirds.com)

NORMAL – The Rebirds Women’s Basketball team (3-2) hosted the Southern Illinois of Edwardsville Cougars (3-2) in search of their third win Thursday night at Redbird Arena under first-year Coach Kristen Gillespie.

The Redbirds opened up the first quarter strong, going on an 8-2 run. The shots were going their way as a couple of them stayed on top of  the rim and bounced in. The ‘Birds had a strong quarter on both sides of the ball, shooting 50% from the field and defensively, tallying 3 blocks and forcing 4 turnovers off the cougars. The ‘Birds led the Cougars at the end of the first quarter, 13-9 after a last second bucket from junior Guard Viria Livingston.

The second quarter opened with a three pointer from senior Forward Hannah Green on the Redbirds first possession followed by a jumper from junior Forward Millie Stevens on the ensuing possession.

Despite forcing five turnovers in the second quarter, the entire bench was fired up as the Redbirds shot 57% from the field, including a buzzer-beating three-pointer from Livingston. At the half, ISU led SIUE 29-22.

It was all ISU in the third quarter, as the Redbirds came out firing at all ends. On the offensive side, the ‘Birds made use of every second on the shot clock to capitalize on the Cougars fouls. In just about three minutes, the ‘Birds went on a 7-0 run with a three-pointer from Katrina Beck at time expires, and a layup from Livingston. Appearing to be too much for the Cougars, SIUE took a time-out and ISU could not hold back their intensity as the Redbirds continued their momentum.

By the end of the third quarter, the ‘Birds took a 43-32 lead on the Cougars while shooting an astounding 67% from 3-point range. Even though they were one quarter away from a win, Green and freshman Paige Saylor were in foul trouble with 3 fouls each.

The Cougars came out with an active defense trying to get back in the game, but the Redbirds continued their offensive run as Megan Talbot could not be contained, as she made shots from the free throw line and beyond the arch to increase the lead to 15. Talbot finished the game with 12 points and shot 5-7 (71.4%) from the field.  It was a physical fourth quarter quarter as both teams got into foul trouble. With about 6 minutes to go in the game, ISU was given the bonus for the rest of the game. The Cougars played hard defense on Livingston as she took a poke to the eye, and was roughed up near the boards, but still continued to contribute after a short break.

Once the Birds had the lead, they never looked back as they made it more difficult for the Cougars to make a comeback. They were able to maintain their lead despite Green and Beck fouling out. It was a scare, for the team, but they were still able to put the game out of reach. After a strong effort on both sides of the ball, the Redbirds got what they wanted: a 62-47 win over SIUE, improving to over .500 this season to stay undefeated on Doug Collins Court this season.

Livingston scored a season high 17 points, Green finished with 4 blocks, and Talbot got more comfortable beyond the paint, shooting .714 from the field.

The Redbirds next game will be this Sunday against the Butler Bulldogs (4-4) at 2 p.m. at Redbird Arena.

Anthony Ferretti contributed to this story

Anthony Ferretti

December 1st, 2017

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