Women’s basketball drops nail-biter

Women's basketball team huddling

The Flames get fired up against their opponent. The team lost a close game Saturday against Wright State, 77-74. Photo: Steve Woltmann

The women’s basketball team (16-5, 5-3 Horizon League) dropped a thrilling Horizon League contest Saturday to Wright State (16-6, 5-2 Horizon League) by a final score of 77-74. The game featured 11 lead changes and a last second three-point attempt by Terri Bender that fell just short.

The Flames host Green Bay at 3 p.m. Saturday at the UIC Pavilion. UIC’s 16-5 overall record is the program’s best mark through 21 games in the Division I era, which began in 1980.

Redshirt sophomore Ruvanna Campbell had 22 points and 15 rebounds for her 13th double-double of the season.

Senior Rachel Story poured in 18 points for the Flames.

Wright State’s Kim Demmings, the Horizon League’s Preseason Player of the Year, played all 40 minutes and scored a game-high 28 points.

UIC shot 50 percent from the field, including 62 percent in the second half, 47 percent from the free throw line (11-of-23) and 17 percent from three-point land (3-of-17). Meanwhile, Wright State hit seven three-pointers and made 18-of-24 shots from the foul line.

The Raiders turned 24 UIC turnovers into 34 points and scored 14 second-chance points. UIC won the rebounding battle (44-35) for the 18th time this season and scored 42 points in the paint.

UIC’s defense was stifling as the Flames jumped out to an 18-9 lead at the 9:09 mark, following an 8-0 run. Wright State slowly chipped away at the Flames’ lead and Demmings scored eight points in the final 3:11 before halftime. The Raiders took a 35-30 lead going into the break.

Wright State led by three (46-43) when UIC went on a 9-0 run to move ahead, 52-46, with 10:52 remaining. UIC was up 62-59 with 5:26 left but the Raiders went on a 15-3 run over the next 3:21 to take their largest lead of the game, 74-65.

UIC scored nine of the next 11 points and narrowed the Wright State advantage to 76-74 with nine seconds left.

Tay’ler Mingo’s free throw pushed the Raider lead to three and Bender’s last-second three-point attempt came up just short.

Campbell picked up her third consecutive 20-point effort and third straight double-double. She has seven 20-point performances and five 15-plus rebound efforts this season.

Story was 7-of-18 from the field for her 18th double-digit performance of the season.

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