Women’s basketball keeps winning streak alive with No. 5

Katie Hanneman & Ruvanna Campbell

Ruvanna Campbell picked up her 12th double-double of the season Wednesday. Photo: Timothy Nguyen/UIC News

The women’s basketball team (16-4, 5-2 Horizon League) won its fifth straight game Wednesday with an 84-70 road victory over Milwaukee (6-13, 2-4 Horizon League) at the Klotsche Center.

UIC, now second in the Horizon League, starts a three-game home stand Saturday against third-place Wright State (15-6, 4-2 Horizon League).

The game begins at 7 p.m. in the UIC Pavilion.

Rachel Story (22), Terri Bender (22) and Ruvanna Campbell (21) all scored more than 20 points for the Flames. Campbell picked up her 12th double-double of the season with 12 rebounds.

UIC’s 16-4 overall record is the program’s best mark through 20 games in the Division I era (1980 to present). The Flames’ 5-2 Horizon League record through the first seven conference contests is the second best mark in program history.

UIC collected 12 steals in Wednesday’s game, forcing 16 Milwaukee turnovers to turn those miscues into 20 points. The Flames took care of the ball with a season-low seven turnovers.

The Flames are 16-1 this season when out-rebounding their opponent (42-33) and 13-1 when attempting more free throws (22-10). UIC grabbed 17 offensive rebounds and scored 17 second-chance points.

“We responded well to Milwaukee’s sagging defense that was designed to contain our post players and keep the ball out of Rachel’s hands,” head coach Regina Miller said.

“Terri (Bender) was allowed to roam free most of the night and she hit quite a few big shots for us. Our offensive rebounding opened up the paint and Rachel used her craftiness to create shots for herself.

“We did a better job of forcing turnovers and scoring off those turnovers in the second half. We created a lot of havoc for their offense and limited their secondary scorers with our defensive pressure. Off the bench, Gisselle (Truiett) did an excellent job defending Angela Rodriguez and we wore her down as the game went on.”

With 13:16 left in the first half, UIC broke a 13-13 tie with a 12-0 run that included triples from Bender and Story. The Flames limited the Panthers to 37.5 percent shooting (12-of-32) in the first half and held a 42-29 lead at halftime.

Milwaukee started the second half on an 8-0 run before Miller called a timeout with 17:04 remaining. The Flames responded with a 13-4 run to take a commanding 55-41 lead with 13:52 left on the clock. UIC’s largest lead of the contest came at 77-61 after Bender’s layup with 4:46 remaining in the game.

Campbell tied career highs with three blocks and four steals. She had 15 points, eight rebounds, two blocks and two steals in the first half. Campbell has six 20-point efforts and 13 double-digit rebound performances this season.

Bender tied her career high in points set against Valparaiso last season (1/19/13). She scored 13 points in the second half, including 11 with under eight minutes to play.

Bender, who collected three steals, owns 32 steals over the last 10 games (3.2). It is her second 20-point performance of the season and fourth career 20-point effort.

Story, coming off a career-high 34 points against Cleveland State, played all 40 minutes for the sixth time this season and picked up her team-high ninth 20-point performance. She hit 3-of-5 three-pointers and 5-of-6 attempts from the charity stripe.

Redshirt senior Katie Hannemann was 5-of-7 from the floor and scored 13 points in 25 minutes of action. Hannemann (844 career points) needs three more points to enter the program’s Top 20 scorers.

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