UNI women pushed around by Illinois St. in MVC opener

NORMAL, Ill. – Double-doubles by Janae Smith and Candace Sykes, and a season-best defensive effort, helped the Illinois State women’s basketball team whip up on Northern Iowa, 72-41, in Friday’s Missouri Valley Conference opener.

Smith had game-highs of 23 points and 12 rebounds, while Skyes contributed 20 points, 11 rebounds and a career-best five blocked shots off the bench for the Redbirds (9-4, 1-0).

Jamie Russell added nine points while Roland-Story High School graduate Maddie Oliver added six points as Illinois State won its third straight.

Northern Iowa’s 41 points was both a season-low for the Panthers (5-8, 0-1) and a season-best defensive effort for the Redbirds. Jacqui Kalin led UNI with 10 points and Brittni Donaldson had nine.

Northern Iowa returns to action Sunday with a trip to Terre Haute, Ind., for a 2:05 p.m. contest against Indiana State.