DEKALB -- A red-hot offensive performance in the first half sparked the Illinois State women's basketball team to its fifth consecutive win, a 73-51 rout of Northern Illinois Monday night at the NIU Convocation Center.
The Redbirds' final nonconference game ended a grueling slate of four games in seven days and improved ISU's record to 10-3.
"This string of games was both physically and mentally demanding for us. I really challenged the players to stay mentally tough and they responded fantastically, winning all four games," said ISU coach Stephanie Glance.
"Playing this many games in such a short period of time is a unique challenge. We approached it one day at a time and now can look back at four wins as a great accomplishment. I was really happy with how we came out and set the tone in the first half tonight."
Three Redbirds scored in double figures, led by Katie Broadway's 18. Broadway shot 7-of-11 from the field, including 3-of-5 from 3-point range, and scored 12 points in the first half.
Hannah Spanich scored 16 points, making both of her 3-pointers and all six of her free throws. She also had a team-high eight rebounds and a career-high five blocks. Marley Hall scored a career-high 10 points, shooting 4-for-4 from the field, to go along with three rebounds and a steal.
ISU opened the game with a season-best 11-0 run, hitting four of its first seven shots while NIU missed its first six shots from the floor.
After the Huskies finally broke the ice five minutes into the game, the Redbirds answered with an 8-0 run to extend the lead to 19-2.
NIU finally got on track, cutting the ISU lead to 27-15 with 5:29 left in the half, before the Redbirds used a 14-4 run to up the margin to 41-19 at intermission.
Broadway knocked down her third 3-pointer three minutes into the second half to give ISU its biggest advantage of the game, 50-23.
ISU shot 48 percent from the field, including 6-of-12 from beyond the arc, while knocking down 17 of 18 free throws. The Redbirds owned a 37-28 rebounding advantage.
ISU will face Indiana State at 1:05 p.m. Saturday in a Missouri Valley Conference game in Terre Haute, Ind.
Hanley named Valley player of week: Illinois State senior forward Emily Hanley received the first Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week award of her career Monday after averaging 18.0 points and 8.3 rebounds in three Redbird wins last week.
The Normal Community High School graduate has reached double figures in scoring in 10 of ISU's 12 games.
It is the first weekly honor for ISU this season.