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Illinois State Women’s Basketball ‘Rejuvinated’ Heading in 2021-2022 Season

Written by on October 22, 2021

Normal, ILL. – ISU hosted it’s annual media day presser in a normal setting for the first time sine 2019. Head Coach Kristen Gillespie began the session with a press conference at the podium for nearly 20 minutes. One thing that was clear right off the bat was that the fifth year coach was happy to finally move back into a normal routine.

“You look back at last fall, we were shut down four separate times, and those are two weeks at a time sitting in their dorm rooms twiddling their thumbs,” said Gillespie. “There’s only so much film you can watch, the carryover is just not there. I think there’s a renewed sense of appreciation.”

Every season has its challenges and this one is no different. Four year point guard Paige Saylor graduated in the spring, and 2021 MVC All-Newcomer team member Terrion has moved on from Redbird basketball. However Gillespie’s program made one of the most unique additions in recent memory to help fill that void.

This past summer Redbird Women’s Basketball introduced Jada Stinson: A graduate student, a three time transfer, and an olympian. Stinson began her collegiate career at the university of Memphis where she played two seasons, followed by transferring to Arkansas State where she sat played out the 2020-2021 season. Her head coach spoke about what type of impact she can have on the locker room during the presser.

“I think she brings such a level of leadership and credibility into our locker room,” Gillespie said of her new guard.  “She’s one of the most humble young women you’ll ever be around.”

Aside from collegiate basketball Stinson competed in the 2021 Olympics for Puerto Rico. After adding another experience to her gaudy resume, the 5th year veteran has a definitive edge she does not take for granted.

“Just seeing the game in a different light,” The Fayetteville, North Carolina native said. “I’ve learned so much from different institutions playing different kinds of basketball and I’m really grateful for that.”

Illinois State plays it’s first exhibition November third against USML at Redbird Arena, before playing it’s first regular season game against Northern Illinois November ninth. 

Photo courtesy of goredbirds.com