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NORMAL — With 29 seconds to play Friday at Redbird Arena, Illinois State women's basketball coach Kristen Gillespie curled up her right index finger and beckoned Simone Goods to her side during a dead ball.

Congratulations, a celebratory hand slap and a side shoulder hug simply couldn't wait any longer.

"I could not be more proud of this kid," Gillespie said after Goods tore up Indiana State with a career-high 29 points in a 63-53 Missouri Valley Conference victory. "They were giving her one-on-one-looks and we'll take it."

Goods did not start but connected on 12 of 24 shots from the field and grabbed 10 rebounds while surpassing her previous scoring high of 23.

"We were going to keep feeding her," said Gillespie. "She's shown she can go right, she can go left and she was passing the ball."

Goods, who grabbed five of her rebouds off the offensive glass and had a career-high five steals, proved a mismatch for any Sycamore who attempted to defend her.

"It was just feeling good and having the mentality we owe this team." Goods said. "I can kind of tell when I'm rushing, and I didn't want tonight to be one of those nights. I took my time when I caught the ball, seeing what they were giving me, really putting more thought into it I guess."

ISU advanced to 12-13 overall and 6-8 in the MVC while avenging a 52-49 loss to Indiana State on Jan. 21 in Terre Haute.

"I'm extremely proud of our effort. We knew this was a big game. We didn't think we played our best at Indiana State," said Gillespie. "This game had implications for March and seeding (in the MVC Tournament)."

Goods scored 13 second-quarter points, but Indiana State (8-16, 6-7) took a 27-26 lead into halftime after Ashli O'Neal swished a shot from the lane with two seconds showing.

"Simone was dominant at both ends of the floor," interim Sycamores head coach Josh Keister said . "She was the difference. She was a tough matchup, obviously."

Shooting 2 of 7 from 3-point range in the opening half, ISU suddenly started bombing in third-quarter 3-pointers. Hannah Green and Katrina Beck nailed two each from beyond the arc without a miss as the Redbirds ran up a 42-32 advantage.

"I took a couple in the first half and didn't hit them. It's just a matter of knocking them down," said Green, who scored 11 points. "It's a huge momentum shift to hit a couple threes like that."

Indiana State whittled a 13-point ISU lead early in the fourth quarter down to 53-46 with 4:19 left. But a Beck free throw and Goods' final two buckets kept the Redbird edge safe.

"The second half they out toughed us," Keister said. "They were much more physical. They were very determined. They are playing with a lot of confidence."

ISU hauled down 15 offensive rebounds and prevailed in the battle of the boards, 46-30. Viria Livingston joined Goods with 10 rebounds and handed out a career-high seven assists.

Beck was whistled for her second foul at the 6:13 mark of the first quarter and sat out the rest of the opening half. The junior scored all 13 of her points after the break.

The Sycamores shot 4 of 18 from the field and missed all six 3-point tries in the pivotal third quarter. Indiana State shot 37 percent overall to 35.6 percent for the Redbirds.

O'Neal topped the Sycamores with 14 points. Ty Battle, a freshman averaging 4.4 points, chipped in 12 and Regan Wentland 11.

ISU plays its final home game Sunday in a 2 p.m. tipoff against Evansville. It is the Redbirds' annual Play 4 Kay game for cancer awareness.

Follow Randy Reinhardt on Twitter: @Pg_Reinhardt


Sports Writer

Sports Writer for The Pantagraph.

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