Redbirds Knock Off UNI to go to the NCAA Tournament
Written by Joey Dwyer on March 13, 2022
Normal, Ill. – For the first time since 2008, the Redbirds Women’s Basketball team has punched their ticket to the big dance with a 50-48 win over the UNI Panthers.
The Redbirds continued their hot starts at Hoops as they quickly jumped out to a 10-2 lead over the Panthers. Juju Redmond and Maya Wong had four points apiece at the five-minute mark of the 1st. Coming out of the timeout, the Panthers caught fire and made ISU pay for putting DeAnna Wilson on the bench. The teams ended the 1st with ISU up by one, 12-11. The Panthers stayed hot into the second quarter rattling off 8 quick points and held ISU to just one Kate Bullman bucket to take a 19-14 lead at the timeout. Juju Redmond willed the Redbirds to some points but the Birds couldn’t lower the deficit before the half, 27-22.
“It was a battle, and I think our staff and our team knew it was going to be” Coach Gillespie said, reflecting on the game.
The Birds came out firing in the 3rd quarter, and that sense of urgency briefly put them on top before a Kam Finley 3-pointer gave the Panthers a 2-point lead halfway through the 3rd. The final four minutes of the third frame became a thrilling back and forth that saw UNI carry a 37-36 lead into the 4th. The Birds battled through lead changes throughout the 4th quarter but ultimately it was DeAnna Wilson at the foul line after a quiet afternoon that sealed the deal and sent the Birds to the NCAA tournament.
The Redbirds will be heading to Iowa City on Friday as a 15 seed facing 2 seed Iowa.