Strong Second Half Propels UIC to Victory against Western Michigan

Terri Bender had a career-high 16 points in the win against WMU.
Terri Bender had a career-high 16 points in the win against WMU.

Dec. 28, 2012

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CHICAGO – The UIC women’s basketball team (4-7) picked up its third-straight home win on Friday night, with a 66-58 victory against Western Michigan (4-8) at the UIC Pavilion.  The Flames began the second half with a 24-6 run after trailing by one point heading into the break.  Freshman Terri Bender set a new career high with 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting, while junior Rachel Story tallied 16 as well with seven assists.  Junior Emily Kobel also recorded double figures with 13 points, going 3-of-5 from behind the arc.

The Flames have won three of its last four games and improve their home record to 4-2.

“I thought our second half tonight was some of the best basketball we’ve played all season,” said head coach Regina Miller.  “We had great contributions off our bench, which really gave us a spark.”

After spotting Western Michigan 10 straight points to start the game, the Flames outscored the Broncos 19-9 over the next 10 minutes.  UIC executed runs of 8-2 and 8-0 in that span to knot the score at 19-19 with 6:24 remaining in the half. 

It was a two-person show for the Flames in the first period as Bender and Story combined for 17 of the Flames’ 27 first half points.  Both teams shot poorly in the first half as UIC went 11-of-32 (34.4%) from the field and WMU shot 11-of-31 (35.5%).

Ten seconds into the second half, Bender sank a pair of free throw to put UIC up 29-28 and Flames never relented.  By the 12:24 mark, UIC’s lead had grown to 51-34 as a large portion of its scoring came from the inside.  The Flames outscored the Broncos 40-20 in the paint for the game and 22-10 in the second stanza.

Freshman center Caitlin Garant was a catalyst for the Flames off the bench with six points and four rebounds in just 17 minutes of action.  Junior Megan Wallace also provided the Flames with a spark off the bench with eight rebounds, three steals, three assists and two points.

The sharp-shooting Kobel scored all 13 of her points in the second half as her three treys came within seven minutes of each other.

The Flames reached its highest lead of the game, 58-38, at the 9:24 mark then allowed the Broncos to go on a 10-2 run and cut the margin to 58-46.  WMU came within eight points of UIC with 1:18 left to play, but the Broncos had trouble stopping redshirt junior Katie Hannemann in the final minute as she dropped in two easy buckets down low.

UIC hit 50 percent of its shots in the second half, going 16-of-32 as WMU went 10-of-29 (34.5%).  The Flames also notched 13 assists in the final period compared to just four for the Broncos.

The Flames return to action on Monday, Dec. 31 for a New Year’s Eve tilt at Big Ten-foe Indiana with tipoff scheduled for 5 p.m. CT.