Two visiting Missouri Valley Conference teams have escaped Redbird Arena with a victory in Stephanie Glance’s three seasons as Illinois State women’s basketball coach.
Evansville snared one of those victories on Jan. 17 in a 71-57 decision over the Redbirds. ISU gets the chance for payback Saturday in a 5:05 p.m. contest at Ford Center in Evansville, Ind.
“That was a difficult loss for us. It was a loss at home,” said Glance, who is 23-2 in MVC games at Redbird Arena. “We watched quite a bit of film from that game. I think they (the Redbirds) learned about their defense and what Evansville will try to do to us defensively.”
At 16-8 overall, ISU sits in third place in the Valley at 8-4. Evansville (8-14) is tied for fifth in league play at 6-5.
“We have to take care of the ball and find the open person,” Glance said. “Hopefully we come out with a level of focus and energy.”
The Purple Aces might be a bit shell shocked. Evansville led Indiana State 26-15 at the half on Thursday only to watch the Sycamores score the first 26 points of the second half on their way to a 55-48 win.
Khristian Hart, a 5-foot-8 sophomore, leads the Aces at 13.6 points per game with 6-2 senior Samantha Heck at 13.3 and 6-1 sophomore Mallory Ladd at 12.0. Ladd also averages 9.2 rebounds and Heck 7.6.
ISU survived Thursday’s game against last-place Southern Illinois with a 71-68 victory in Carbondale.
“The only thing I was disappointed in was we had 18 turnovers,” said Glance, whose team throttled the Salukis at Redbird Arena, 89-41, less than a month ago. “When you had won in such big fashion, they don’t get themselves up physically and mentally as you would like as a coach. But I’m proud of the team for hanging on.”
ISU has received a recent offensive spark from senior guard Alexis Jenkins and sophomore forward Brianna Puni. Jenkins has 29 points in the last two games and Puni has contributed 40 over the previous three contests.
“It’s huge for us when Lex scores,” Glance said. “Puni is very capable of huge numbers. If we can get her going early in the game, it could be a huge factor.”