Sycamores Fall to Redbirds in MVC Tourney Opener

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The shorthanded Indiana State Sycamores closed out their season with a quarterfinal loss to No. 9 seeded Illinois State Thursday night at the iWireless Center in Moline, Illinois.
The Sycamores were held to just 28 percent shooting from the field (14-of-50) and 29 percent from behind the arc (5-of-17).
Junior forward Ashley Taia paced Indiana State offensively with 15 points while sophomore Tierra Webb added 14 points. No other Sycamore scored more than six points. Taia, a Brisbane, Australia native also came up big on the glass, corralling a 10 rebounds for her first double-double of the season.
Senior Rhagen Smith finished with six points and six rebounds.
Indiana State jumped out to a 9-2 lead over the Redbirds to start the game and finished the first leading 16-10. That was before Illinois State locked up on the defensive end, forcing the Sycamores into tough shots through the final 30 minutes of action. ILS outscored the Sycamores each of the final three quarters to secure the win.
Trailing by just two at halftime, ISU came out of the locker room and tied the ballgame on a Webb 15-footer, but Illinois State answered with an 8-0 run to take control of the game.
Taia hit several tough shots down the stretch to pull ISU within striking distance but no shot was bigger than her 3-pointer with 4:01 left in the fourth to make it a three-point game.
Illinois State answered the Sycamore triple with four quick points to ease the tension before they were able to knock down free throws to ice the game.
Katrina Beck led the way with 17 points for the Redbirds with nine of her points coming from the charity stripe. 
The Sycamores finish the 2016-17 season at 12-18 overall and 6-12 in the Missouri Valley Conference.

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