Redbirds Continue to Roll with Play4Kay Win
Written by Ben Hudy on February 6, 2023
Image courtesy of Redbird Athletics
NORMAL, Ill – Sunday had the feeling of something very special for the Illinois State women’s basketball team. Not only were the Redbirds trying to extend their nine game win streak, but they were also playing for something bigger than basketball.
The Redbird basketball team hosted a Play4Kay event at CEFCU Arena on Sunday. Play4Kay was a foundation that was started by former women’s basketball coach, Kay Yow. Yow started it as way to unite everyone involved in the game and raise money and awareness for women’s fight against cancer.
Not only was the entire stadium decked out in pink, the Illinois State team was also filled with pink. The team wore their classic home white jerseys, but instead of red numbers and lining it was pink. They also wore matching pink Nike shoes that had cancer ribbons on it as well as Kay Yow’s name on it.
The Redbird team was also honoring former ISU player Simone Goods, who passed away last summer after a courageous battle with cancer. The Redbirds have been wearing her initials on their jerseys all year long, but the team came out with her last name and number on the back of their warmup shirts. The team also honored Goods with a heartfelt and emotional tribute at halftime.
When it game to the game itself, the Birds struggled through the first quarter and a half of play. The Redbirds were trailing by as much as 11 before they began to catch heat at the end of the first half. The Redbirds managed to pull off the comeback and beat Murray State 79-73.
“Just an awesome team win,” said Kristen Gillespie, coach of ISU. “This was a really emotional day for our team, we played for so much more than just basketball.”
When ISU was down, they went to the player who has answered every time they have need someone to step up. Paige Robinson came up huge scoring in anyway that she could. Robinson finished the game with 24 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists while shooting 3 of 4 from three point range.
Another player that came up huge for the Redbirds was forward Kate Bullman. She managed to score 16 points while playing lockdown defense on one of the best players in the Missouri Valley Conference, Katelyn Young. Bullman managed to hold Young to 13 points, the first time Young has been held to under 20 points in MVC play this season.
DeAnna Wilson also came up huge for the Birds. She scored 16 points while grabbing 11 rebounds. She was the Redbirds primary scorer as they were coming back from their 11 point deficit.
Along with the three stars from Sundays game, Mary Crompton moved up the charts of all-time in MVC career three-pointers. Crompton’s two three pointers have put her in a tie of number three all-time MVC career three-pointers made with 277.
With the win on Sunday the Birds continue to roll now winning 10 games in a row. The Redbirds sit atop the MVC with a conference record of 11-1.
The Redbirds next game is Friday night against Southern Illinois at CEFCU Arena.