Freshman Bender leads Flames to victory

Freshman Terri Bender, the Horizon League’s Newcomer of the Week, scored 20 points Saturday against Loyola. Photo: Steve Woltmann

Freshman Terri Bender set a new career high with 20 points — all in the second half — as the women’s basketball team (5-10, 1-1) earned its first Horizon League win of the season Saturday against Loyola, 73-62.

The Flames play at home Saturday, hosting Valparaiso at 3 p.m. at the UIC Pavilion.

Against Loyola, Bender shot 7-of-8 from the field and 3-of-3 from the three-point range. For her efforts, she was named the Horizon League’s Newcomer of the Week.

Junior Rachel Story racked up 20 points of her own. Bender and Story combined for 32 of UIC’s 40 second-half points. They were joined in double digits by senior Taylor Foulks (14).

“Terri (Bender) stepped up to the challenge,” head coach Regina Miller said.  “She hit some huge shots and did a great job of leading the team.”

UIC came ready to play, jumping out to an 11-0 lead in the first three minutes of the contest. The Flames drilled three treys in the opening run, with two from Foulks. UIC was red-hot in the early goings, hitting 9-of-13 from the field and 3-of-3 from the outside.

Loyola cut UIC’s lead to five (22-17) with about nine minutes to go, but the Flames rattled off seven points to extend their advantage to 29-19 with less than eight minutes in the first half.

The Ramblers closed out the first period on a 15-4 run to lead, 34-33, at the break.

Story started the second half with a three-point play to put the Flames ahead, 35-34.

Loyola pulled ahead by five (49-44) with 14 minutes left to play. The Flames came storming back and tied the score at 54 with less than nine minutes left as Bender knocked down her second three of the half.

Foulks gave UIC the lead on the next possession, hitting a free throw.

The Flames carried that momentum into a 16-4 run over the next six minutes, including back-to-back threes from Foulks and Bender, to build a 67-58 edge with less than three minutes on the clock.

Story sealed the victory, going 5-of-6 from the free throw line the final minute.

Story dished out a game-high seven assists and Wallace grabbed a game-high nine rebounds.

“Our conditioning and execution level really showed in the second half,” Miller said.

“It’s a game of runs and I thought we responded well to Loyola in the second half.”

UIC shot a season-high 27-of-51 (52.9 percent) from the field and 8-of-16 (50 percent) from behind the arc.

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