NORMAL — It doesn’t take a practice or game to get Alexis Foley to Redbird Arena.
Extra visits to Doug Collins Court have helped Foley earn the most playing time of all the Illinois State women’s basketball freshmen.
And, like many of her teammates, Foley is seeking added consistency as the Redbirds open the second half of the Missouri Valley Conference season Friday in a 7:05 p.m. game against Drake at Redbird Arena.
“Foley puts in a lot of time outside of practice,” ISU coach Stephanie Glance said. “She comes in three to four times a week. As a player, that’s all you can do. As a freshman, she’s really made a commitment to do that.”
The 5-foot-10 Foley has played in all 21 games for the 13-8 Redbirds and has started 11. She scored a career-high 12 points in ISU’s loss to Missouri State last Sunday.
“Coming in, I just tried to follow the leaders on the team, see what they were doing and try to mimic that on the court,” said the native of White Bear Lake, Minn. “I’m learning and trying to do the extra things. I’m doing what I can to keep growing as a player and an individual.”
At 4.8 points per game, Foley is among four Redbirds averaging from 4.8 to 5.9 points in support of ISU’s top three of Jamie Russell (14.8), Candace Sykes (14.0) and Janae Smith (13.2).
“I just wish we were a little bit more consistent,” Glance said. “It’s time for us to do that. We’ve played really well in parts of this half of conference play and had some games we didn’t play well at all.”
That second category would encompass Sunday’s 91-76 defeat at Missouri State. It was the first time ISU had surrendered more than 76 points all season.
“We might have some good individual plays here and there,” said Foley, “but our team defense needs to be solid and lately it hasn’t been as solid as we can be.”
The Redbirds are tied for third in the MVC with Northern Iowa and Evansville at 5-4 in league play. One of those wins came on Jan. 13 at Drake, 71-66.
“Drake has very good guard play, and their undersized post player (6-0 Morgan Reid) leads the league in rebounding,” Glance said. “We have to guard penetration well, guard the 3-point line and keep Reid off the boards.”
Drake (7-13, 2-7) also allowed more than 90 points in its last game, a 98-71 loss to Creighton.
Kyndal Clark, a 5-5 sophomore, leads the Bulldogs at 14.3 points per game. Reid adds 11.3 points and 8.2 rebounds.