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Redbird Women’s Basketball Works Out Kinks

Written by on November 4, 2021

NORMAL, Ill. – The Illinois State women’s basketball team played in front of fans for the first time in nearly two years in their exhibition match Wednesday night.

Being an exhibition, the Redbirds’ goal was not to win, but to show that their team was ready to go for Next Tuesday, when their real season starts and they have to play teams tougher than the UMSL Tritons. In the opinion of head coach Kristen Gillespie, the Redbirds didn’t necessarily do that.

“I was just a little disappointed with our overall effort, I really don’t think we played with a great identity tonight.” said Gillespie. “We have four days to fix that before we start the real season, so we’ve got a lot of work to do ahead of us.”

One bright spot for the ‘birds in the box score was their rebounding, where they were led by Kate Bullman who nabbed 11 boards. However, towards the end of the fourth quarter, there was some obvious frustration from the coaching staff that their effort was slipping. “We want it to be a part of our identity, we want to be a tough rebounding team,” said Gillespie. “I thought we gave them too many second chances . . . we want to send three players to the glass every single time, I have to do a better job demanding that.”

Maya Wong relished in her new starting role, earning 13 points with five assists to go along with it. “I’m looking more to be a leader in my role this year,” said Wong about her expectations for this season. “Having more command of the team and making sure everyone knows what’s going on, that’s been a big point of emphasis for me this year.”

The regular season starts Tuesday, Nov. 9 for the Redbirds. Tip-off from Northern Illinois is set for 6.