NORMAL — Hannah Green was pedaling a stationary bicycle when Wednesday's exhibition game at Redbird Arena began.
When Green took her energy to the court, that's when the Illinois State women's basketball team really started to cover some ground.
Green scored 15 first-half points and finished with 24 as ISU defeated Eureka College, 80-54, in the debut of Redbird coach Kristen Gillespie.
"I was excited for Hannah to have a game like this to showcase the hard work she's put in," Gillespie said.
Green also contributed 10 rebounds and three blocks after hopping off the exercise bike.
"I was keeping my whole body loose in general. I'm getting old," said Green, who has been bothered by a sore back. "It's just keeping your legs warm so you're not coming into the game cold."
With Division III Eureka's sagging zone defense handing out 3-point shooting opportunites like candy off a parade float, the Redbirds couldn't help but imbibe on occasion and were 7 of 19 from long range.
"I do like we saw a zone for 40 minutes. I think that's going to be a common theme this year," Gillespie said. "We've got to chip away and get a little better understanding what a good shot is within that offense."
Green was 1 of 9 from beyond the 3-point arc all last season, but connected on her first three from long range and ended 3 of 4.
"It's been a personal philosophy for myself to get in the gym and work on that 3-point game," said Green. "That's really going to extend my range and how I can play off the bounce. It's about being able to play inside and out."
ISU did not score inside the lane over the game's first 7:32 and led just 15-12 after the initial quarter.
"I thought Eureka did a phenomenal job with their game plan," Gillespie said. "A first-year coach, he had his kids ready to play. They competed at a very high level."
Green scored eight points in the first two minutes of the second quarter, and Simone Goods chipped in a three-point play to help the Redbirds boost their lead into double digits for the first time at 29-18. The ISU margin stayed at 11 entering halftime at 40-29.
"I thought there were some positives with our team," Gillespie said. "But there are a lot of things we need to work out: our intensity, our competitive fire, a lot of things we can control."
ISU scored 12 straight second-half points to bolster a 54-43 lead to 66-43.
Frannie Corrigan scored 13 points and Goods 12 for the Redbirds. Megan Talbot chipped in nine points, eight rebounds and three blocks.
"I don't think I did my best," said Goods. "But it was good to see more so what my coach wants from me and what I need to work on."
Eureka scored 30 of its points from 3-point range on 10 of 29 shooting. Samantha Sarnes and Hayley Reneau topped the Red Devils with 16 points each. Kennedy Dura added 10.
"It was a great experience. We couldn't be happier for the opportunity," Eureka coach Amos Arbogast said. "Their size was a lot (to contend with). But we were physical and hung in there."
The Red Devils were missing their top two inside players, one was out with injury and one is still playing for the school's volleyball team.
Redbirds Katrina Beck (ankle), Morgan VanHyfte (knee) and Deja Turner (concussion) did not play because of injuries. VanHyfte will be sidelined for about three weeks, according to Gillespie.