If a cure for queasy shooting indeed existed, Illinois State women's basketball coach Kristen Gillespie would have been searching frantically for it since Friday's loss at Valparaiso.

Coming off two wins and a tournament championship in Long Beach, Calif., in late December, the Redbirds have been unable to attain even 25 percent accuracy in either contest while losing their first two Missouri Valley Conference games.

At 6-7 overall, ISU will take its next shot Sunday at the Gentile Arena in Chicago for a 1 p.m. MVC game against Loyola.

"Our kids are putting in extra time (shooting). We see them in the gym all the time," Gillespie said Saturday. "We've got to catch a break. We just need to see the ball go in."

The Redbirds stand at an even more dismal 4 of 38 (10.5 percent) from 3-point range in the past two games. ISU still stayed close to Valpo in a 56-50 loss by committing just eight turnovers.

"If we played that hard against Bradley, we wouldn't have got beat by 20," said Gillespie. "The offense had much better pace. We got good looks. We just couldn't make shots. Viria (Livingston) and Paige (Saylor) played their hearts out."

ISU also will look for a bounce back performance from leading scorer Simone Goods, who had three points against Valparaiso. Ironically, those points came on Goods' first 3-point try of the season.

The next blocked shot by senior forward Hannah Green will be her 100th at the Division I level. She will become only the third ISU player to reach that milestone approximately halfway through her second season as a Redbird.

ISU reserve forward Millie Stevens will miss her second straight game with a shoulder ailment.

Loyola is 2-12 overall and 0-3 in the MVC after a two-point home loss to Bradley on Friday. The Braves defeated ISU, 62-42, on Dec. 31.

The Ramblers have no players averaging 10 points per game. The leader is 6-foot freshman Abby O'Connor at 9.2. O'Connor also is Loyola's top rebounder at 5.4.

Kailyn Strawbridge, a 5-7 freshman, adds 8.5 points and 5-10 Jessica Cerda, a graduate transfer from Chicago State, 7.8.

"Their kids play hard and they run their stuff well," Gillespie said. "If we want to defend and if we can make shots, we'll be OK."

Fairbury native Kiana Coomber, who played at Loyola last season, is now on the roster at Chipola College.

Follow Randy Reinhardt on Twitter: @Pg_Reinhardt


Sports Writer

Sports Writer for The Pantagraph.

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