Flames advance to tournament semifinals

Women's BBall vs. Indiana Purdue Fort Wayne

Rachel Story scored 27 points Monday against Eastern Illinois in the Women’s Basketball Invitational. Photo: Timothy Nguyen

The women’s basketball team (24-9) advances to the semifinals of the Women’s Basketball Invitational after beating No. 1 Eastern Michigan, 93-91, in quarterfinal action Monday.

The Flames host No. 6 Fairfield at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the UIC Pavilion. UIC students get in free with i-card; regular tickets are $7.

With UIC down 91-90, Ruvanna Campbell converted a three-point play with eight seconds on the clock to put the Flames in the lead. EMU’s Shannise Heady missed two straight jumpers as time expired and UIC escaped with a two-point victory.

Rachel Story poured in 27 points while Campbell collected her 24th double-double of the season with 27 points and a career-high 23 rebounds. Campbell’s 23 rebounds are a WBI record and the second highest in program history.

“Rachel and Ruvanna had huge efforts, especially in the second half,” head coach Regina Miller said. “Their play has been stellar as of late and they came up with season-best performances.

“We beat a very talented Eastern Michigan team and look forward to hosting Fairfield.”

UIC shot 55 percent from the floor and tied the program record with 41 field goals. The Flames scored 58 points in the paint and 22 fast-break points. UIC out-rebounded the Eagles, 48-36.

UIC had a 10-point advantage when EMU went on a 20-6 run to take a 33-29 lead with 6:15 left in the first half. The Flames fought back and entered halftime up 49-48 following Campbell’s layup with 27 seconds remaining before the break.

UIC controlled play early in the second half and took its largest lead of the contest at 77-66 with 9:02 on the clock. EMU went on another 20-6 run to go up 86-83 with 2:23 remaining.

Emily Kobel’s three-pointer tied the score but Cha Sweeney’s triple gave the Eagles a 91-88 advantage with 1:32 left. Terri Bender’s offensive rebound and put back narrowed the EMU lead to 91-90. Heady missed two free throws on the other end before Campbell’s three-point play capped the scoring and sent the Flames into the semifinals.

Campbell was 13-of-17 from the field, matching her career-high effort. She tied her career high with three blocks. Over the last six games, Campbell is averaging 17 rebounds per contest.

Story passed Taylor Foulks (2009-13) to move into 17th place in program history with 1,037 career points. She converted a career-high 12 field goals on 19 attempts. She picked up a career-high six steals and dished out three assists.

Senior Katie Hannemann scored 19 points and passed Toni Stachon (1975-78) and Jacquese Gilbert (1988-91) into 15th place in program history with 1,073 career points. She was 8-of-16 from the field and dished out five assists.

Kobel sank 4-of-9 three-point attempts and finished the game with 14 points. She became the sixth player in program history with 150 made three-pointers.

Bender had nine assists, grabbed seven rebounds and collected two steals over 34 minutes. Bender’s 92 steals are second most in a single season at UIC; she needs two more to break Ava Walker’s record of 93 set in 1980-81.

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