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Redbirds Take Bulldogs Down to the Wire

Written by on January 24, 2020

NORMAL – The Illinois State Redbirds 8-0 start at home came to an end with a 67-69 loss to the Drake Bulldogs in OT.

In her third season at the helm of the Redbirds, Head Coach Kristen Gillespie helped the team inch closer to beating Drake, has not had any luck. Coach Gillespie was confident in her team’s ability to earn the victory this time around.

“I really believed we were gonna win the game. I believed that all week,” said Coach Gillespie. “My heart breaks for them because our kids deserve a win like this.”

Sloppy start for both sides as the Bulldogs opened up 0-5 from the field and the Redbirds had 3 turnovers. Drake opened up the scoring on free throws, but the Redbirds responded with a basket from Juju Redmond. Tete Maggett drained a three-pointer halfway through the first to give the Birds a 7-5 lead.

Redbirds tried to get things moving offensively, but the Bulldogs defense kept applying pressure. ISU’s defense came up big at the end of the quarter to prevent Drake’s buzzer-beater from going in. Lead 12-11 after one.

Maggett’s circus layup to start the 2nd is no good, but Koudelka was there for the rebound and the finish. However, the Bulldogs took advantage of ISU’s mistakes on offense to propel them on a 7-point run. Redbirds continued to stay strong defensively and forced their opponent to make mistakes.

The Bulldogs struggled to get their offense moving for a good portion of the quarter. They were held to without a field goal for 6:04 and turned the ball over 11 times in the first half. The Redbirds scored 9 points off those turnovers and took a 24-22 lead heading into halftime.

Illinois State struggled to get things going offensively in the 3rd Quarter. Turnovers proved to be costly for the Redbirds as they would trail by 7. Down 9 in the final minute, Maggett hits a step-back three to get ISU to a 2 possession game.

Maggett would go on to score the team’s next 7 points to begin the 4th. The Redbirds proved to be too costly when Crompton’s 3-pointer gave them a 53-52 lead. After a 2:53 scoring drought, the Bulldogs scored their way back to take the lead.

With just over a minute remaining, Koudelka muscled her way in to tie the game at 61. Drake’s shot with :01 would not fall and OT was needed.

Redmond scores ISU’s first 4 points in overtime to give them a 65-64 lead, but that was the last time the Birds had the lead. Illinois State would lose a heartbreaker in OT 69-67.

3 Redbirds scored in double figures: Maggett (19), Redmond (14), and Crompton (12).

Crompton said there’s still work to be done and won’t let Friday’s loss deter them from reaching their goals.

“I just know everyone in that locker room, there’s not one person that’s satisfied with playing Drake in overtime,” said Crompton. “We really wanted that one just like we want every game. We’re just gonna have to use that feeling that we have now to just lock in and turn around tomorrow and have a great practice and get ready for UNI.”

The Redbirds return to the court Sunday afternoon to face the UNI Panthers at Redbird Arena. WZND will have a live broadcast of the game beginning at 1:50 in addition to live tweeting the game on Twitter.