Redbirds Visit Indiana State In Valley Game of the Week

Jan. 6, 2010

 Date  January 8 // 7:30 p.m.
 Location  Hulman Center // Terre Haute, Ind.
 Radio  WJBC
 TV  Fox Sports Midwest
 Live Stats
 Game Notes  Illinois State  //  Indiana State

Maggie Krick - G
Krick recorded her fifth 20-point effort of the season with 21 points against SIUE. Krick scored the final seven Redbird points, including four free throws in the final eight seconds. She also tied her season-high with six assists. Krick is second in the Valley in scoring (16.7 ppg). She missed last season's game at Indiana State with a broken hand.

After missing a large portion of last season with a knee injury, Luna has made up for lost time with her production in 2009-10. The Preseason All-Valley pick is third in the league in scoring (16.6 ppg), first in free throw percentage (.951), fifth in three-point field goals per game (2.2) and seventh in assists (3.0 apg). She won the first two Valley Player of the Week awards after scoring 87 points in her first three games. She scored a Valley-best 37 points in the season-opener at Kansas State to surpass 1,000 points in her career.

Illinois State lost at Indiana State last season, 72-65, snapping the Redbirds' nine-game winning streak ... Illinois State is shooting just 29 percent (20-69) from three-point range in the last four games ... ISU is 6-1 when scoring at least 70 points ... after stating the season 7-0, Indiana State has lost four of its last six games.

Illinois State leads the all-time series with Indiana State, 39-34. The Illinois State-Indiana State series is the second-longest for ISU against a Valley opponent (Southern Illinois-82). The series began in 1972 and ISU posted a 23-10 record to start. The Redbirds dominated the 1980's, posting an 18-2 record against the Sycamores. Indiana State came with a 13-1 record at the turn of the century. Since 2003, no team has won more than two-consecutive games. Illinois State is 3-3 in its last six games at the Hulman Center.

ISU shot a season-best 53.1 percent and dished out 20 assists to win the first meeting with SIU Edwardsville, 70-66, Jan. 4. The Redbirds shot 60.7 percent and made six three-pointers in the first half, but SIUE kept the game close by shooting 54.4 percent and making 10 free throws. The Redbirds committed 16 turnovers in the second half, allowing the Cougars to pull within one point late. Maggie Krick scored the final seven Redbird points, including four free throws in the final eight seconds, to seal the win. Krick finished with a game-high 21 points, Nicolle Lewis had a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds and Katie Broadway had a career-high 14 points.

Friday's matchup between Illinois State and Indiana State will feature two of the premiere guards in the Valley. Maggie Krick and Kelsey Luna were both Preseason All-Valley picks and are two of the top-three scorers in the league this season. Luna scored 37 points against Kansas State, the single-game best in the Valley this year, and Krick has scored in double figures 11 times this year.

While the focus of Friday's game will be on guard play, but Illinois State's post players will an impact down low. Senior Nicolle Lewis and junior Emily Hanley are shooting a combined 65 percent (37-57) from the field and averaging 11.5 rebounds over the past four games.

Illinois State started out 2010 in a bad way with a 25-point loss to Creighton Jan. 2. ISU suffered its worst in Valley play since a 71-36 defeat at Bradley Jan. 6, 2002, and its worst home Valley loss since falling to Missouri State, 80-46, Jan. 20, 2000. The Redbirds suffered their worst loss since falling to Green Bay, 92-64, Dec. 22, 2006. ISU played 101 games between the 25-point losses, winning 14 games by 20 points during that stretch. In the 201 games that Robin Pingeton has coached Illinois State, the loss to Creighton was by the sixth-largest margin. ISU hadn't lost a home game by 25 points since falling to Illinois, 71-46, Dec. 1, 2002.

Three is the magic number when predicting Redbird success this season. ISU is shooting 34.9 percent (45-129) from three-point range in its eight wins, as opposed to 27.7 percent (23-83) in its five losses. Perhaps more notably, Redbird opponents are averaging nearly three more made three-pointers in wins (7.6) than in losses (5.1). ISU's loss to Ball State was the only one when the Redbirds made more three-pointers than their opponents. ISU is allowing opponents to make 6.1 threes per game and shoot 37.4 percent from long range, which ranks 306th in the nation.

Coming into the season, Illinois State knew it would need to rely on the senior trio of Ashleen Bracey, Maggie Krick and Nicolle Lewis for success. The trio has stepped up big so far, making up the top-three Redbird scorers and rebounders; combining for 59.6 percent of the ISU scoring production and 47.5 percent of its rebounding. All three players rank in the top-20 in the Valley in scoring and rebounding.

Every season throughout her career, Illinois State senior Maggie Krick has increased her production on the court. As a captain and Preseason All-Valley selection for the second-straight year, big things were expected of Krick in her final season and she has come through to exceed expectations. Krick is second in the Valley in scoring (16.7 ppg) and has scored in double-figures in 11 of the 13 games this year. She started the year with six-consecutive double-digit scoring games, the longest streak since Kristi Cirone began the 2005-06 season with eight-straight. A proficient three-point shooter, Krick has been taking the ball to the basket more this season, with 77.8 percent of her points coming from inside the three-point arc or the free throw line. She has also increased her rebounding to 5.5 per game.

Redshirt senior Nicolle Lewis has accumulated some impressive defensive accolades in her career. She became Illinois State's career leader in blocks in just three years and is only the fifth player in Valley history to amass 200 blocks. Lewis leads the Redbirds with 24 blocks, ranking fourth in the Valley, and has had multiple blocks in eight games, including a season-high four against Drake.

Juniors Emily Hanley and Hannah Spanich have each spent a season on the sideline, watching the Redbirds' success after transferring from other schools. Both are on the court this year, and having a solid impact. Spanich is fourth on the team in scoring (8.0 ppg) and has scored in double-figures six times. She broke into the starting lineup against UW-Milwaukee, recording career-highs of four blocks and four steals. Hanley is fourth on the team in rebounding (4.9 rpg), fifth in scoring (6.7 ppg). She has scored a season-high 10 points twice and grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds against UIC.

ISU is cashing in its free throws early on in the season. The Redbirds lead the Valley and rank fourth in the nation in free throw percentage (.793) and have four players ranked in the top-20 in the conference. The Redbirds have shot lower than 70 percent from the line just once this season and are averaging 15.6 makes per contest. ISU shot 28-for-36 from the charity stripe against South Dakota State, the sixth-most free throws in school history and three shy of the Redbird Arena record. ISU led by just one point with 10:58 remaining in the game, but shot 17-for-21 from the free throw line the rest of the way, leading to a 12-point victory.

Illinois State and South Dakota State are two of the best programs in women's college basketball that many people don't know much about. Both teams have won 20 games in each of the last three seasons, posting a combined record of 155-42. In the second all-time meeting between the two schools Nov. 19, Illinois State came out on top, 79-67. ISU made 28 free throws and forced 25 turnovers to overcome a stellar shooting performance by the Jackrabbits (51.2% from the field, 47.8 % from three-point range). Before falling to the Redbirds, the Jackrabbits had only lost four games in the past two seasons, three of which were to top-10 teams Arizona State, Baylor and Maryland, and were receiving votes in both national polls.

Senior Maggie Krick (1,270) and redshirt senior Nicolle Lewis (1,182) both joined the ISU 1,000-Point Club at the end of the 2008-09 season, bringing the membership up to 24. There have been five years in Illinois State history when two players have scored their 1,000th point in the same season. Krick and Lewis are the first duo to start a season with 1,000 points since 1990-91, when Cindy Kaufmann and LuAnn Robinson were both seniors.

Illinois State was projected to finish in second place in the annual Missouri Valley Conference Preseason Poll, conducted by the leagues coaches, sports information directors and media. Illinois State received 340 votes, falling just behind Creighton (393). The Bluejays (34) and Redbirds (6) were the only teams to receive first-place votes. ISU has been picked in the top-three in the preseason poll in each of the last three seasons. In three of the four previous years the Redbirds were picked second in the preseason poll, they wound up winning the MVC regular-season title.

Illinois State completed a rare three-peat last season. The Redbirds won 20 games for the third-straight season for the third time in program history. The Redbirds won 20 games from 1982-85 and 1987-90. ISU has also completed back-to-back 25-win seasons for the first time in program history. Your online source for Illinois State Athletics, tickets, TRC gifts, multimedia, Redbird merchandise, photos and more.