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December 28, 2013

Abdul-Qaadir hits 3-pointer in final seconds to lift ISU women over Northwestern

NEW ORLEANS —  With three seconds left, senior guard Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir nailed a 3-pointer to give the Indiana State women’s basketball team a 70-67 win over Northwestern in the Tulane/DoubleTree Classic on Saturday afternoon.

Indiana State improves to 5-5 overall and faces the host Green Wave in the championship game tomorrow at 4 p.m. ET.

The win marks the first victory for the Sycamores over the Wildcats in series history and first win over a Big 10 opponent since 2004-05, when ISU defeated Indiana 66-59.

A back-and-forth battle proved true to the end as the game was tied up 62-62 with 2:06 to play after a layup by sophomore forward Marina Laramie.

Junior guard Stephanie Wittman drained a three with 1:36 left on the clock putting her team up by as many points.

Northwestern clawed its way back as guard Ashley Deary sank two free throws with 24 ticks left on the clock. On the inbound, Indiana State found Laramie down court as she dished to Wittman who scored the fast break bucket and gave her team a three-point lead.

The Wildcats (9-3) would respond with a three of their own with nine seconds remaining but Abdul-Qaadir would drain her only three pointer of the day for the win. On the season, Abdul-Qaadir is just 6-for-24 from behind the arc.

“This is a great win,” ISU coach Teri Moren said. “We didn’t draw that [play] up at the end. We didn’t want to give up the 3, but we did. Munn did a great job trying to get it up the floor. Really proud, I’m excited for this group.”

Senior guard Anna Munn led the Sycamores as she tied for a game-high 17 points including three 3-pointers and going 4-for-4 from the charity stripe. Junior forward Lashonda Littleton came off the bench to lead the team with 11 rebounds, pitched in nine points and grabbed a team-high four steals.

“We got help from so many people,” Moren said. “Steph [Wittman] came in and Chelsea [Small] played really well. It was combintation of a lot of different kids stepping up at different times. We beat a good basketball team today. I like the way we battled back.”

Indiana State shot just 39.4 percent from the floor (28-for-71) compared to NU’s 52 percent as rebounding proved to be the turning point in the win. The Sycamores crashed the boards for the second consecutive game as they led the rebounding battle, 45-27, including 23 offensive rebounds compared to Northwestern’s seven offensive boards.  

Led by Littleton’s 11 boards, ISU also got eight from Laramie, five from junior forward Racheal Mahan and four from Small. Mahan also recorded nine points before fouling out with 4:06 left in the contest.

From the line, Indiana State went 8-for-12 (66.7 percent) and 6-for-15 (40.0 percent) from 3-point range. Their 3-point field goal percentage was the second-highest this season.

ISU’s bench came through as it scored 24 points on the day including nine from Wittman and six from junior forward Chelsea Small. They also go 19 second chance points stemming from the 23 offensive boards.

Saturday afternoon’s contest saw seven lead changes and 13 ties as Northwestern came out roaring with a 7-0 lead before Mahan found the back of the rim nearly four minutes into the contest.

The seven point lead was NU’s largest of the day as ISU would hold its largest lead of four points on a breakaway layup by Littleton.  Indiana State took a 31-29 lead into the break which was their third lead at the half this season.

Abdul-Qaadir dished out a team-high five assists while junior guard Natasha Zurek picked up three steals and tied a career-high two blocks.

 Today’s game against the Green Wave will be live on 98.5 WIBQ FM in Terre Haute (also streaming online) with video from Tulane All-Access on TulaneGreenWave.com.

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