NORMAL — Here’s a scary prospect for future opponents of the Illinois State women’s basketball team: The freshman trio of Maggie Krick, Kenyatta Shelton and Ashleen Bracey can play, and they’re only going to get better.
Krick, Shelton and Bracey combined for 43 points and 16 rebounds Tuesday to lead ISU to a 92-59 exhibition victory over Division II Northwest Missouri State before a Redbird Arena crowd of 906.
“That’s why we recruited them,” said ISU coach Robin Pingeton.
Krick led five ISU players in double figures with 16 points while going 6 of 12 from the field and 4 of 7 from behind the 3-point arc. Krick was coming off a 10-point performance in the Redbirds’ 101-76 exhibition win over Odyssey on Saturday.
“Maggie had another great night for us,” Pingeton said. “She just plays with so much poise you’d never know she was a freshman.”
Krick, a Class AA all-stater at Washington High School, also collected six rebounds and five assists.
“I think that’s why the coaches recruited me because I can play all around the court,” Krick said.
Shelton had 15 points while tying teammate Lashawn Johnson with a game-high eight rebounds. Bracey, who only played eight minutes, added 12 points while hitting all five of her field goal tries.
“Kenyatta relaxed a little bit tonight,” Pingeton said. “She’s so quick and so explosive she kind of gets going a little bit too fast at times. I thought she played much better tonight and looked like she was actually breathing out there and enjoying herself.
“Ashleen had an opportunity and she really took advantage of her minutes. She’s kind of an undersized post player but she’s strong and she has a great knack for being around the ball.”
ISU, which ended the first half with a 15-5 run to open a 50-37 halftime lead, also received 11 points from Nicolle Lewis and 10 off the bench from Sara Stevenson. Kristi Cirone added nine points, five assists and three steals.
“Robin has something going here,” said Northwest Missouri State coach Gene Steinmeyer. “If I checked my roster right there weren’t a lot of seniors, and they’re pretty doggone good. They can be kind of fun this year.”
The Redbirds broke it open in the second half by limiting Northwest Missouri State to four field goals on 11 percent shooting. ISU also grabbed 27 offensive rebounds overall in building a 58-41 edge on the boards.
“In the second half we just challenged our kids to dig in and get stops on defense and really shore up some things in our half-court defense,” Pingeton said. “I thought they responded tremendously.
“There was certainly improvement from our first exhibition game to tonight. We wanted to continue to fine-tune some things, and I thought we did that.”
Mandi Schumacher paced Northwest Missouri State with 14 points. The Bearcats only dressed nine players and withered under ISU’s relentless pressure.
“I think a lot of it is my fault,” Steinmeyer said. “We haven’t done much up and down in practice. Our numbers are short and I didn’t have them in very good game shape. We wore down.
“The 27 offensive rebounds are what basically did it to us. I think we stopped enough first possession shots but when you give them that many second shots it’s a killer.”
ISU will open the regular season at 2:05 p.m. Saturday at Northern Illinois.