NORMAL - Desperate to avoid a five-second violation and inbound the basketball despite the pesky flailing of Shala Jackson, Drake's Kristin Turk attempted to bang the ball off Jackson's legs and out of play.
The Missouri Valley Conference scoring leader instead found Jackson's hands and the Illinois State senior had a steal.
Jackson and her Redbird teammates had a disruptive hand in Drake's business all afternoon Saturday as ISU rode a sterling defensive performance to a 60-45 victory witnessed by 1,762 at Redbird Arena.
"To hold Turk to 12 points on 4 of 19 shooting is above and beyond," ISU coach Stephanie Glance said. "We had great team defense. We rotated well behind the ball and covered for each other."
The Redbirds notched 13 steals and a season-high 10 blocked shots while advancing to 12-6 overall and 4-3 in the Valley.
Jackson drew guard duty on Turk in a matchup of 5-foot-9 seniors. Glance felt Jackson had the requisite size and strength to battle through the numerous screens set for the 20.6 point per game scorer.
"I really just wanted to limit her shots," said Jackson, who was occasionally relieved by Amanda Clifton or Hannah Spanich. "But the whole thing was a team effort. Everybody was talking to me and telling me where she was."
Drake (9-9, 3-4) shot a season-low 29.6 percent from the field (16 of 54) as ISU held an opponent under 50 points for the first time this season.
"You have to give the Redbirds a lot of kudos for their defensive effort. They didn't allow us to run effective offense and we shot a poor percentage," Bulldogs' coach Amy Stephens said. "She (Turk) is a phenomenal shooter. They were able to shut her down, and we didn't get any production from anybody else."
Drake missed its first nine shots and trailed 7-0. The Bulldogs pulled within 25-22 on two Turk free throws at the 1:06 mark of the half before Clifton's steal and layup sent ISU into the break with a five-point lead.
The Redbird edge stood at 33-28 before reeling off 11 straight points as Katie Broadway drilled a 3-pointer, Clifton banked in a fadeaway in transition, Jackson hit from the wing, Emily Hanley scored inside and Broadway connected on a 10-foot jumper.
At that juncture, Turk was 3 of 15 from the floor and the Bulldogs had converted a mere 10 of 40.
"We got in the passing lanes and put pressure on the ball. Nobody likes being pressured," said Clifton, who had four steals to Jackson's three. "We were doing what we're supposed to do. When you do that, it's fun and it's easier to win games."
Broadway paced ISU with 15 points, while Hanley and Jackson added 12 each. Kenyatta Shelton handled a game-high 11 rebounds, Clifton handed out six assists and Spanich rejected four Bulldog shots.
Clifton opened the scoring by canning one of two free throws at the 17:14 mark. The Redbirds would not patronize the foul line the rest of the way. Drake was 11 of 16.