Women grab tournament spot with win over Detroit

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Terri Bender drives down court with Katie Hannemann’s assistance against Thursday night at the UIC Pavilion. Photo: Timothy Nguyen/UIC News

The women’s basketball team (21-8, 10-6 HL) clinched the No. 4 seed in the upcoming Horizon League Tournament with an 83-66 home win Thursday over Detroit (6-22, 3-12 HL).

It was the regular season finale for UIC, who will host the No. 5 seed in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament March 12.

Senior Katie Hannemann poured in a game-high 27 points on Senior Night to become the 19th player in program history to reach 1,000 career points.

Senior Rachel Story scored 20 points while sophomore Ruvanna Campbell scored 11 points and grabbed 16 rebounds for her 11th straight double-double. Sophomore Terri Bender was in double-figures off the bench with 12 points.

“We secured a quarterfinal home game and honored our seniors on the same night. An all-around great day to be a UIC Flame,” said head coach Regina Miller.

“Our seniors were outstanding and combined for 54 of our 83 points. We concluded the regular season on a high note and we are excited to start postseason play at the Pavilion next Wednesday.”

UIC forced 21 Detroit turnovers and scored 29 points off the Titans’ miscues. The Flames collected 13 steals and tied a program record with 30 assists, out-rebounding Detroit 48-36.

UDM held a 17-16 advantage with 13 minutes left in the first half — its final lead of the contest. After knotting the game at 19-19, UIC went on a 13-5 run to go up 32-24 with 8:42 left before halftime. The Flames took a 41-38 lead into the locker room.

UIC scored the first six points of the second half but Detroit came within three at 52-49 with 13:47 remaining. The Flames used a 10-0 run over the next 3:01 to pull away from the Titans. UIC held its largest lead at 82-62 with 1:40 remaining.

Hannemann was 10-of-17 from the field and 7-of-9 from the free throw line for her ninth career 20-point performance. She owns four 20-point efforts this season, all of them over the last six games with an average 22.7 points and 62.3 percent shooting from the field.

She grabbed 10 rebounds for her 13th career double-double and seventh this season and tied her career high in assists (6) and blocks (2).

Story scored 20 points for the second straight game and the 12th time this season. She has 23 20-point performances in her two-year UIC career.

Campbell had seven points and 10 rebounds in the second half on the way to her Horizon League-high 21st double-double. She dished out a career-high seven assists and tied her career high with three blocks. She is averaging 15.4 rebounds over the last five games.

Coming off the bench for the first time this season, Bender collected her 14th double-digit effort and third in the last four games. She was 2-of-5 from beyond the arc.

Senior Megan Wallace recorded her 14th career start and first of the season. She was efficient in her 15 minutes on the floor as she set career highs in assists (5) and steals (3). She also contributed four points, four rebounds and two blocks.

It’s the second time UIC will host a quarterfinal game with head coach Regina Miller — the Flames defeated No. 5 Butler in the 2011-12 season.

Cleveland State (14-14, 9-6 HL) plays at Youngstown State (13-15, 9-6 HL) Saturday, with the loser of that contest traveling to Chicago to play the Flames.

The winner will be the No. 3 seed, hosting No. 6 seed Oakland (12-16, 7-8 HL).

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