NORMAL — Bent on improving her Illinois State women’s basketball team’s scoring punch, Kristen Gillespie appears to have succeeded in a major way.
Junior college transfer TeTe Maggett and freshman Mary Crompton combined to sink seven 3-pointers and score 36 points Sunday as the Redbirds handled Division II Quincy, 82-55, in a season-opening exhibition game at Redbird Arena.
“They are as good as billed,” Gillespie said. “They both can shoot the ball, but they’re unselfish, too.”
Crompton started her first college game and scored her team’s first points on a 3-pointer.
“Just like anyone in their first college game, there was a little bit of nerves,” said Crompton. “But those subsided as soon as the game started. I knew my teammates believed in me, and my coaches believed in me. That’s all I really needed.”
Crompton was 5 of 9 from 3-point range, finished at 17 points and added three assists and two steals.
“Mary showed why she is going to be one of the elite shooters in the country,” Gillespie said. “She is not just a spot-up shooter. By the time she crosses half court, you’ve got to find her. She showed she has more to her game.”
Maggett came off the bench to hit half of her 14 shots and score 19 points as well as contributing five rebounds and two steals.
“I was really not nervous just because of the fact I had to really focus on playing defense,” said Maggett. “If I get my defense down pat, my offense will come to me.”
Gillespie believes Maggett “is very different than anything our league (Missouri Valley) has. She is dynamic. Both of them are just scratching the surface.”
ISU led just 25-24 after consecutive second quarter 3-pointers from Quincy’s Grace Schraufnagel and Taylor Hickey.
The Redbirds closed the half on a 16-6 spurt as Crompton tossed in a 3-pointer, Simone Goods scored six points and Maggett five.
“At halftime, we had some honest conversations about our defensive effort and our rebounding,” Gillespie said. “We struggled with our rebounding at first. But the last 25 minutes we only gave up two offensive rebounds. It’s a mindset. We’re still learning that defensive mindset and how to rebound.”
Maggett scored seven third-quarter points to help the Redbirds extend their advantage to 63-44 entering the final quarter.
“We’ve got a lot of people around the perimeter who can shoot the ball,” said Maggett. “If we keep lighting it up, they are going to have to come guard us out there.”
That’s excellent news for Goods. ISU’s senior post player connected on 7 of 9 shots and totaled 18 points while playing just 17 minutes because of foul trouble.
Katrina Beck chipped in 10 points and six assists for the Redbirds, who open the regular season next Sunday at Southern Illinois Edwardsville. Megan Talbot sparked ISU to a 32-27 rebounding edge with eight boards.
Hickey was the lone Hawk scoring in double figures with 11 points. Quincy committed 20 turnovers, nine more than the Redbirds.
ISU freshmen Anya Brooks and Kayel Newland did not play because of injuries.