NORMAL -- Redbird Arena has never looked so inviting to the Illinois State women's basketball team.
Three consecutive Missouri Valley Conference road defeats have the Redbirds anxious to regain the momentum of a strong start in Thursday's 7:05 p.m. league game against Creighton at Redbird Arena.
"It's so nice to be back," said senior guard Hannah Spanich. "We're ready for our home atmosphere and the fans. Just to be back on our home floor is nice."
At 10-6 overall, ISU slipped to 2-3 in the MVC with losses at Indiana State (74-55), Missouri State (76-61) and Wichita State (59-56). ISU has five of its next seven games at home.
The second half of the Wichita State game provided encouragement as the Redbirds erased an 18-point second-half deficit before succumbing to the Shockers.
"The last 15 minutes or so I felt we looked like our old selves," said Coach Stephanie Glance. "We were aggressive at both ends of the floor. I hope to see that carry over."
Spanich agrees the Redbirds shook off their doldrums last Sunday in Kansas.
"I think we battled back and we're on track now. I feel like we found ourselves in the second half and started to play how we have been playing the majority of the season," Spanich said. "We're motivated and ready to play a home game."
Glance has used the same starting lineup for each game this season but is considering an unspecified change in personnel.
"It will be a game-time decision. I'm still debating," she said. "We've tweaked a few things with our offense. Hopefully that will help us execute a little better offensively."
That offense will be tested by a Creighton defense that leads the Valley in scoring defense at 54.6 points in league play. The Bluejays are 10-6 and 4-1 in the MVC.
"Creighton is very talented. They have a lot of scoring ability at every position," said Glance. "Defensively, they are very aggressive. I'm very impressed with them."
Creighton boasts the early favorite for MVC Freshman of the Year in 5-foot-10 guard Carli Tritz, who is averaging 10.4 points and 4.6 rebounds. Kelsey Woodard, a 5-10 senior, is the top scorer at 12.7 while 6-0 senior Sam Schuett adds 10.6 and 7.8 rebounds.
Game time change: The start of ISU's Feb. 24 home game against Evansville has been moved back 30 minutes to 7:35 p.m. to accommodate the girls Illinois High School Association Three-Point Showdown.
Back to Normal
Creighton at ISU
Time: 7:05 p.m. Thursday
Broadcast: WJBC (AM-1230, FM-93.7)