EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Candace Sykes scored 21 second-half points Saturday on her way to a career-high 24, leading the Illinois State women’s basketball team past Evansville, 64-46, in Missouri Valley Conference action at the Ford Center.

The senior guard made five 3-pointers, tying a career high, as ISU improved to 17-8 overall and 9-4 in the Missouri Valley.

The Redbirds trailed 28-24 at the half before outscoring Evansville 40-18 in the second half. The Purple Aces fell to 8-15 and 6-6 in the Valley.

Janae Smith scored 11 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for ISU. Jamie Russell added 10 points and Brianna Puni had nine rebounds.

Alexis Jenkins dished out six assists for the Redbirds, who made 40 percent of their field goal attempts and outrebounded Evansville, 43-28.

ISU won despite going nine-plus minutes without a basket. The Redbirds used a 9-0 run to take a 35-32 advantage with 13:29 to play. Jenkins scored four straight points, while Sykes hit a 3-pointer and Russell a jumper in the lane.

ISU opened a 48-38 with a 13-4 surge keyed by eight points from Sykes. Evansville could not rally from there and became the fifth Redbird opponent to be held under 50 points.

Illinois State faces Indiana State on Feb. 24 in a 1:05 p.m. start at Terre Haute, Ind., the Redbirds’ third straight road game.

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