NORMAL — It has been less than a year since Stephanie Glance’s April 19 hiring as Illinois State women’s basketball coach.
The eventful 11½ months that followed and the Redbirds’ 24-11 season were celebrated Thursday at Redbird Arena.
“I met the team the night before. I could tell that night it was a special group of young women and I was blessed to coach them,” Glance said. “This team accomplished great things. I couldn’t ask for a better first team.”
ISU overcame the departure of former coach Robin Pingeton to Missouri and the graduation of its top three scorers to advance to the semifinals of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament for the third straight season.
“We were devastated. But we slowly realized this would not be a season of rebuilding,” senior point guard Amanda Clifton said. “We would start right back up and continue the winning tradition.”
The Redbirds completed the first undefeated home regular season in program history at 14-0 and finished with a 17-1 mark at Redbird Arena.
Senior forward Emily Hanley called Glance “an amazing leader and friend. I can’t believe how much I learned from you in one year.”
The Redbird senior class of Clifton, Hanley, Kenyatta Shelton, Shala Jackson and Hannah Spanich was honored with framed jerseys.
“This has been the best four years of my life, and this year was the best year,” Jackson said. “Being part of this team made me a better person.”
Jackson finished her career 24th on the Redbird career scoring list with 1,099 points. Shelton was ninth in rebounding (707) and third in blocks (96) and Clifton was 10th in assists (363) and 18th in steals (149).
Clifton matched former teammate Maggie Krick for second place on ISU’s games played list at 136. Jackson is fourth at 135.
Clifton received the team’s Most Valuable Player Award, the Jill Hutchison Leadership Award and the Hustle Award.
Junior Katie Broadway was recognized as Offensive Player of the Year, while Shelton and Jackson shared the defensive honor. Honored as “best teammates” were Hanley among the starters and freshman Alison Seberger among the reserves.
Freshman Marley Hall was picked Most Improved Player. Freshman Chloe Nelson received the first Redbird Award, given for best representing the team in the classroom, on the court and in the community.