Flames prepare for postseason play

Rachel Story

Senior Rachel Story needs nine more points for a 1,000 career tally. Photo: Steve Woltmann

The women’s basketball team (22-9) hosts Indiana-Purdue University Fort Wayne March 19 in postseason play for the Women’s Basketball Invitational.

The game starts at 7 p.m. at the UIC Pavilion. UIC students get in free with i-card; regular tickets are $7.

If the Flames defeat IPFW, they will play the winner of the Eastern Michigan/Evansville contest Saturday or Sunday.

IPFW, a member of the Summit League, was 15-14 on the season and 8-6 in conference play. The Mastodons finished third in the league’s standings.

Seeded third in the Summit League Tournament, IPFW was upset by No. 6 Denver, 79-73.

UIC and IPFW last met in 2004, when the Flames picked up a 91-68 road win. UIC won the first meeting between the two schools, 71-53, in 2001.

The Flames last participated in postseason play in 2006-07, when UIC earned a trip to the WNIT. The Flames fell in the first round of the tournament to Minnesota, 97-54.

This season, UIC set the program record with 22 wins and ranked fourth in the Horizon League at 10-6. UIC has the nation’s second-largest turnaround with 13 more victories than the 2012-13 season. The Flames tied the program record with 11 straight victories from Nov. 15 to Jan. 3.

Run by Sport Tours International, the Women’s Basketball Invitational is in its fifth season. The tournament provides a choice for postseason-worthy Division I teams that want to continue their season but do not qualify for the NCAA tournament.

The Flames suffered a 68-59 defeat against No. 1 seed Green Bay (22-8) in the semifinal round of the Horizon League Tournament Friday night.

In the contest at Green Bay’s Kress Center, UIC led by seven late in the first half but a 20-5 run by the Phoenix was too much to overcome.

Senior Rachel Story scored a team-high 20 points to lead three Flames in double-figures. Senior Emily Kobel (12 points) and sophomore Terri Bender (10 points) also reached double digits.

Story picked up her 14th 20-point game of the season and the 25th of her two-year UIC career. With 991 points, she needs nine more to become the 20th member of UIC’s 1,000-Point Club. Story played all 40 minutes, grabbed seven rebounds and collected two steals.

Sophomore Ruvanna Campbell had 14 boards for her 13th straight double-digit rebounding effort. She scored nine points, including seven in the second half.

Campbell is averaging 15.8 rebounds over the last four contests. Senior Katie Hannemann contributed eight points and set a career high with four steals.

She was 3-of-4 from the field and has converted 59.4 percent of her field goals over the last three games.

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