Flames capture first women’s basketball title

UIC women's basketball wins WBI title

Ruvanna Campbell’s performance earned her tournament MVP honors. Photo: Timothy Nguyen/UIC News

The best year in program history ended with a postseason title as the UIC women’s basketball team ( 26-9) defeated Stephen F. Austin, 73-64, in the championship game of the 2014 Women’s Basketball Invitational Saturday at the UIC Pavilion.

Sophomore Ruvanna Campbell was named tournament MVP after collecting 18 points, 12 rebounds and a WBI-record eight blocks in the title game against Austin (23-13).

As a team, UIC broke the single-game WBI record with 10 blocks.

The contest was UIC head coach Regina Miller’s second postseason championship game appearance; she led UNLV to the 2004 WNIT title game. Miller owns 288 career victories — 53 in her three-years at UIC.

Miller led the Flames to a program record and the nation’s largest turnaround after a 9-21 record for 2012-13.

UIC won 11 straight games from Nov. 15 to Jan. 3, which tied the longest win streak in program history. The Flames broke program records for points scored (2,598), scoring average (74.2 ppg), field goals made (940), rebounds (1,503), free throws made (557) and assists (526).

Campbell finished the season with 26 double-doubles and 33 double-digit scoring performances. Her 449 rebounds are the most in a single season in program history and the most in the history of the Horizon League.

Campbell is one of only four players nationally who averaged at least 17 points, 12 rebounds and shot over 50 percent from the field. She ranked seventh in the nation in both double-doubles (26) and rebounding (12.8 rpg).

Senior Rachel Story scored a game-high 27 points to finish her career with 27 20-point performances. She had 16 20-point efforts this season and finished with 609 points, the second most in a single season at UIC.

Story capped her UIC career with 1,077 points, which ranks 15th in program history. She is the only player in UIC’s 1,000-Point Club to accomplish the feat in two seasons.

Senior Katie Hannemann scored 14 points to finish her career with 55 double-digit efforts. Hannemann’s 1,108 career points are 14th in program history. She grabbed eight rebounds and her 605 career rebounds rank ninth at UIC.

Sophomore Terri Bender had eight points, eight rebounds and six assists to break the single-season assists record. She finished the season with 148 assists, which broke Betty Kollar’s record of 145 set in 1980-81. Bender picked up one steal and tied Ava Walker’ single-season steals record of 93.

Senior Emily Kobel sank 2-of-5 three-point attempts and finished her career with 152 made three-pointers, which ranks sixth in program history. She made 63 triples this season and passed five players in the record book.

The Horizon League has captured two straight WBI championships — Detroit took home the title in 2013.

Run by Sport Tours International, the Women’s Basketball Invitational capped its fifth season. The tournament provides a choice for postseason worthy Division I teams who wish to continue their season, but who do not qualify for the NCAA Tournament. Past winners include Appalachian State in 2010, UAB in 2011 and Minnesota in 2012.

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