Women’s basketball off to best start in 19 years
The UIC women’s basketball team (6-1) is off to its best start in 19 seasons after a 67-54 victory over Western Illinois (4-4) Saturday night at the Flames Athletic Center.
The 2014 WBI Champions have won 10 of their last 11 contests dating back to last season. The Flames have won their last 11 home games.
The contest was the first match between the two schools in 21 years. The Flames held WIU to 30 percent from the field (16-of-52) and the Fighting Leathernecks became the sixth UIC opponent to shoot under 40 percent.
UIC had 10 steals, forced 19 turnovers and scored 17 points off WIU’s miscues. On offense, the Flames set season highs in field goals made (28), field-goal percentage (.475) and free throw percentage (.750). UIC scored 44 of its 67 points in the paint.
“We used pressure to force turnovers and converted those miscues into points at key moments,” said head coach Regina Miller. “Our size and athleticism gave Western Illinois troubles in the paint. Ruvanna and Terri did an excellent job attacking the rim in the halfcourt.
“Our defense is creating better offensive possessions and we look to continue that trend next weekend at Eastern Illinois.”
Redshirt junior Ruvanna Campbell, who ranks second nationally in rebounds, scored a season-high 26 points along with 10 rebounds for her fifth double-double. She owns 31 double-doubles and 14 20-plus point performances in her UIC career. Campbell was 11-of-24 from the field and 4-of-5 from the free throw line. She also had two blocks and two steals.
Junior Terri Bender tied her career-high of 23 points set Wednesday against SIUE. Bender now has three 20-point performances this season and seven in her UIC career. She was 9-of-15 from the field and 2-of-5 from downtown.
Bender picked up six rebounds, five assists and two steals while playing all 40 minutes.
Redshirt sophomore Kendyl Nunn scored eight points and grabbed three rebounds in 22 minutes off the bench. Senior Gisselle Truiett had a stellar defensive effort with five rebounds, three steals and two blocks.
UIC scored the first seven points of the game before WIU rallied to take an 11-10 lead with 13:22 left in the first half. The Flames regained the lead but the Fighting Leathernecks kept UIC within striking distance at 27-23 with 4:38 before halftime. UIC went on a 7-0 run before allowing three quick points to go into the locker room up 34-26.
The Flames scored the first six points out of the locker room to take a commanding 40-26 lead. UIC led by as many as 15 at 58-43 with 6:46 remaining and WIU never got closer than 10 the rest of the contest.
UIC has a seven-day break before making the 180-mile trip south to take on Eastern Illinois (3-4) Dec. 14. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. CT at Lantz Arena.