NORMAL - An unusual matinee women's basketball game served as a clash between Illinois State University and SIU-Edwardsville this past Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023, at CEFCU Arena in Normal. The women's matchup was the annual Education Day game at Illinois State, as students from 26 schools around central Illinois were invited. The crowd of 7,581 was a program record for home attendance in women’s basketball at ISU.

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Illinois State University held off a fourth-quarter rally from SIU-Edwardsville for a 90-86 win in nonconference women’s basketball action Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 15 at CEFCU Arena in Normal.

Forward DeAnna Wilson, a product of St. Louis Cardinal Ritter Prep, finished with 23 points and eight rebounds as ISU improved to 2-1. Guard Caroline Waite added 20 points, while guard Maya Wong recorded 19 points.

Forward Kate Bullman pulled down a game-high 15 boards for the Redbirds, who were 24-9 last year and picked third in this year’s pre-season Missouri Valley Conference poll.

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Guard KK Rodriguez of St. Louis led all scorers with 31 points and was 7-of-12 from three-point range for SIUE (1-3), while fellow guard Sofie Lewis finished with 19 points on 5-of-11 shooting from beyond the arc. Guard Macy Silvey, a Glen Carbon product, had 15 points.

Illinois State led 26-17 after one quarter and was up by 14 after a three-pointer from Wilson with 4:01 left in the second quarter. However, ten straight points from Rodriguez in the span of 1:59 trimmed the lead to four before a three-point play from guard Shannon Dowell gave the Redbirds a 41-34 lead at halftime.

The Cougars pulled within three at 44-41 on an inside layup from forward Brianna Wooldridge at 8:51 of the third quarter, but ISU reeled off a 13-2 run for a 57-44 lead with 3:13 remaining in the period.

The ISU lead was 63-50 entering the fourth quarter, and a three-pointer from Waite with 7:24 remaining put the Redbirds ahead 74-58. Two free throws from Waite at 2:24 gave ISU an 86-76 lead before the Cougars scored five of the next six points of the game, including a three from Rodriguez with 41 seconds left to cut the lead to 87-82. A jumper from Silvey at the buzzer provided the final margin.

Illinois State was 28-of-58 (48.3%) from the floor on the afternoon, while the Cougars were just 30-of-79 (38.0). The Redbirds dominated the boards 53-35 and received 25 points from the bench to beat SIUE for the sixth time in nine all-time meetings.

SIUE, which was 9-22 last season, was picked to finish seventh in the pre-season Ohio Valley Conference poll.

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