WICHITA, Kan. - While the Illinois State women's basketball team went ice cold from the field in the second half Friday night, Wichita State set a torrid pace.
The Shockers shot 63 percent after intermission and received a career-high 24 rebounds from junior center Antoinette Wells to claim an 85-73 Missouri Valley Conference victory before a crowd of 1,861 at Charles Koch Arena.
ISU, which led 33-32 at halftime, shot 34 percent in the final 20 minutes in dropping to 9-13 overall and 4-9 in the Valley. The Redbirds shot 36 percent (26 of 72) overall and 32 percent (8 of 25) from behind the 3-point arc.
"Any time you get 72 shots off you have enough opportunities, but you have to knock down shots," said ISU coach Robin Pingeton.
Many of the Redbirds' misses came on layups, much to the dismay and amazement of Pingeton.
"Usually we're better than that at knocking down open layups," Pingeton said. "But for one reason or another, they wouldn't fall for us. That's not a talent thing, it's a toughness thing.
"I believe in these kids and I stand by them, but we just have to hang in there, roll up our sleeves and understand how to play with more toughness. The heart and the effort are there, but we have to get the toughness."
Wichita State (14-9, 7-7) forced seven Redbirds turnovers in the first 12 minutes to grab a 20-15 lead. ISU battled back on a Kristi Cirone basket, two Tiffany Hudson free throws and a 3-pointer by junior center Lori Trumblee to grab a 31-26 lead with 2:51 left in the half.
After cutting the deficit to one at halftime, Wichita State opened the second half with a 7-2 run to go ahead 39-35. Sophomore Kiki Stephens scored six of her 17 points during the burst.
ISU got within one on a 3-pointer by Hudson, but the Shockers used a 9-0 spurt to grab a 59-45 lead with 8:55 remaining. The Shockers made 19 of 30 shots in the second half and finished at 49 percent (32 of 65) overall.
Nichole Switzer led the Shockers with 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting and Wells, the Valley's top rebounder, added 15 points. Freshman Daria Frazier, the Valley's reigning Newcomer of the Week, contributed 15 points off the bench.
"We had some breakdowns defensively, and Kiki got us in the second half," Pingeton said.
Cirone led ISU with a game-high 19 points and six assists before fouling out in the final minute. Senior forward Holly Hallstrom posted her eighth double-double of the season with 14 points and 13 rebounds.
Hudson and Trumblee both added 12 points for ISU, and Hudson handed out six assists. ISU was outrebounded 50-41.
ISU will complete a two-game road trip Sunday with a 2:05 p.m. game against Missouri State at Springfield, Mo. Missouri State (12-11, 6-8) posted a stunning 76-46 win over league-leading Indiana State (20-3, 12-1) Friday.