Sophomore Michelle Young’s (Woodbury, Minn./Woodbury) layup with 1.3 seconds left proved to be the difference as the Bradley women’s basketball team edged I-74 rival Illinois State 71-69 Thursday night at Renaissance Coliseum, ending the Redbirds’ 15-game win streak in the series.
Bradley (14-14 overall, 8-9 MVC) pulled even at 69-69 with 2:46 to play on a Catie O’Leary (Janesville, Wis./Parker/Wisconsin) driving layup to tie the game for the 15th time and both teams had several chances down the stretch to go in front, but came up empty.
Shronda Butts (Des Moines, Iowa/East) had a good look in the lane for the Braves with just under 30 seconds left, but the shot rimmed out and it appeared Illinois State (20-9 overall, 12-5 MVC) was going to have the last chance to go in front after grabbing the rebound on the miss with the shot clock off.
Senior Katie Yohn (Elgin, Ill./St. Edward), who had three steals in the game, blocked a Jamie Russell jumper with just under six seconds left and fellow senior Brooke Bisping (Morton, Ill./Morton) found a streaking Young with a baseball pass from near three-quarter court for a breakaway left-handed layup with 1.3 seconds left to give the Braves the win.
Young led Bradley in scoring with 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting and also snagged six rebounds. Yohn turned in her team-leading sixth double-double of the year, tallying 12 points and 13 rebounds, while Bisping was also in double figures with 11 points to go with her seven rebounds.
The victory was Bradley’s first in the series with Illinois State since a 71-63 win at Robertson Memorial Field House on Jan. 15, 2006 and snapped a 15-game win streak in the series for the Redbirds. In addition, the victory snapped ISU’s seven-game win streak and secured the Braves at least the #6 seed in next week’s Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. BU can finish in a tie with Indiana State for fifth in the final league standings with a victory against the Sycamores Saturday.
Bradley battled from behind most of the contest and Illinois State matched its biggest lead of the game at 62-55 nearing the six-minute mark, before the Braves would outscore the Redbirds 16-7 down the stretch. Bisping made a pair of free throws to open the run and Young followed a Bisping steal with a layup. After an Alexis Foley layup gave ISU a 64-59 lead with 5:21 to play, O’Leary made a pair of free throws and Butts also made a pair at the five-minute mark to pull Bradley within one at 64-63.
The Redbird advantage was 67-63 when Butts had a driving layup and an ISU turnover led to a Yohn jumper in the lane to tie things up at 67-67. The teams traded baskets on their next possession, setting up Bradley’s last second heroics. The Braves shot 50 percent from the field in the second half and 40 percent for the game.
Russell led Illinois State with 18 points, while Candace Sykes came off the bench to score 15. Brianna Puni grabbed 12 boards and also had 10 points to help lead the Redbirds.
Bradley closes out the regular season Saturday, hosting Indiana State in a 2 p.m. game at Renaissance Coliseum. Seniors Brooke Bisping and Katie Yohn will be recognized in a pre-game ceremony prior to the final regular-season home contest of their careers.
Article courtesy Bradley Sports Information.