NORMAL -- This formula for rebounding has nothing to do with chasing down missed shots.
"It's something you can't dwell on too long," said Illinois State senior point guard Amanda Clifton. "We've got other games to play. We've got a new life and a new chance to end the season the right way."
Wildly successful at shrugging off the pain of a disappointing Missouri Valley Conference Tournament to thrive in the Women's National Invitation Tournament the past two seasons, ISU tries again Thursday in a 7:05 p.m. first-round game against Central Michigan at Redbird Arena.
The 20-10 Redbirds have advanced to the WNIT semifinals each of the past two seasons.
"We have experience. The WNIT has kind of been our tournament," Clifton said. "Hopefully it happens again. But we have to take care of business."
First-year ISU coach Stephanie Glance believes the Redbirds' recent postseason history can be an asset.
"I do like the fact they have been in this situation and had great success," said Glance, whose team is a school-record 14-0 at home.
Glance has been pleased with her team's practices since a miserable 80-51 loss to Indiana State last Friday in the MVC Tournament.
"Any goal-oriented drill we've run, they are running that drill at a higher level than they have all year," Glance said. "I couldn't ask for more than that."
Central Michigan (20-10) is making its first postseason appearance since 1984.
"There is a sense of excitement," said Chippewas' coach Sue Guevara. "We don't want to do a two step, one step in and one step out. We want to be dancing a little longer."
Central Michigan is an up-tempo squad that averages 81.2 points and hoists 22 3-point attempts per game.
Shonda Long, a 5-foot-9 senior, is the top scorer at 16.6 points per game. Second team all-Mid-American Conference performer Kaihla Szunko, a 6-2 senior, contributes 15.9 points and 11.1 rebounds. MAC Freshman of the Year Niki DiGuilio adds 11.1 points.
"They are going to run, run, run. They push the ball every single time, made or missed basket," Glance said. "We're at our best when we're running and they are too. We have to attack them and do the same thing to them they are trying to do to us."
Guevara said her team is accustomed to playing before good crowds on the road and expects to encounter another Thursday.
"They've got that sixth player going for them," she said. "We welcome all that noise. They may not be for us, but we've been there and done that. We'll play through that."
The ISU-Central Michigan winner will face Wisconsin, a 68-48 winner over Butler on Wednesday, in the second round. The date and location of that game has yet to be determined.
Central Michigan at Illinois State
Time: 7 p.m. Thursday
Broadcast: WJBC (AM-1230, FM-93.7)