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Four-of-a-kind: ‘Birds Hold Hot Hand, Trump Purple Aces in Double-Digit Win

Written by on February 25, 2024

NORMAL, Ill. – Illinois State women’s basketball rolled on to four straight wins in Sunday’s victory over Evansville 78-50 at CEFCU.

ISU held its annual Play for Kay game which recognized and raised money to those who battle against breast cancer.

“As good as it is to get a win, I think the community won when I heard the final number of 35,000 dollars raised for cancer research.” ISU Head Coach Kristen Gillespie said, “I just hope that those who were in the crowd fighting their battle felt uplifted, and just know there is a community around them.”

Savannah McGowan had herself a career day with 15 points off the bench – leading the team. The freshman only missed two of the nine shots from the floor and grabbed six boards for the Redbirds.

“I just have to stay ready and it’s a talk that I’ve had with Coach [Gillespie] to stay ready,” McGowan said, “and believe in myself like she believes in me.”

Kate Bullman was everywhere for the Redbirds. The Grayslake Central Alum went 4-off-5 from beyond the arc to score 14 points and snagged six rebounds. Bullman proved why she was chosen for the 2023 MVC All-Defensive Team adding six blocks to the score sheet.

“I think we were just taking what the defense was giving us.” Bullman said, “We were doing a good job sharing the ball, passing it around and taking great shots. When we do that, we’ll always hit.”

The Redbirds picked up the pace in the second half after only leading by five going into half time. A big 20-2 run accompanied with a barrage of threes led ISU to capitalize in the third.

DeAnna Wilson came alive in the second half scoring 14 points on the day along with nine rebounds. The fifth-year senior struggled in the first half with free throws but picked up her percentage going 4-7 on the day.

“We are in the driver seat, and it’s just of matter of taking it possession by possession,” Gillespie said.

The Redbirds might have gotten hot at the right time before the tournament. ISU now sits at 18-8 and will travel to Carbondale on Feb. 29 against the Salukis at 6 p.m.