NORMAL, Ill. – Illinois State women’s basketball head coach Kristen Gillespie has released the Redbirds’ non-conference schedule for the 2022-23 season, which features five home games, two Big Ten opponents and a trip to Las Vegas for the UNLV Thanksgiving Classic.
“I’m very excited about the non-conference schedule our staff has put together,” Gillespie said. “We’re facing some strong opponents before conference play starts as we prepare to chase another title and NCAA Tournament appearance. The opportunity to play two Big Ten programs and three teams who finished in the top-100 NET rankings last year will be great preparation before Valley play. We have a good combination of home and away games and are excited about the locations of our road matchups, so fans have the opportunity to see us in Redbird Arena or on the road.”
The Redbirds will host Indianapolis in an exhibition game on Nov. 1 before opening the season on the road for the second-straight season at Dayton on Nov. 10. Following the season opener against the Flyers, who were an NCAA Tournament team last season, Illinois State will return to Redbird Arena for its home opener against St. Thomas on Nov. 15. In last year’s matchup with St. Thomas, four Redbirds finished in double figures in the victory, including three that return this season (Wong, Wilson, Crompton).
ISU will match up against the Big Ten’s Wisconsin and Purdue again this season, facing the Badgers on Nov. 20 for a White Out game at Redbird Arena and traveling to West Lafayette, Indiana, later in the year to play the Boilermakers on Dec. 11.
After playing Wisconsin, the Redbirds will take a trip over Thanksgiving break to play in the UNLV Thanksgiving Classic which will begin on Nov. 25 and run through Nov. 27. In addition to the Redbirds and host school, UNLV, Harvard, East Tennessee State, Stetson, George Washington, Louisiana Tech and UC-San Diego will all compete in the Las Vegas tournament. The bracket will be announced at a later date.
The ‘Birds will face a pair of Saint Louis based teams to kick off the month of December, facing St. Louis on the road on Dec. 3 and hosting Missouri-St. Louis on Dec. 6 for Education Day.
As previously mentioned, ISU will then compete against Purdue in West Lafayette on Dec. 11 before closing out the non-conference schedule with a game against UW-Green Bay at Redbird Arena on Dec. 18.
The Redbirds bring back 10 returners from last season’s MVC Championship and NCAA Tournament team, including All-MVC First Team member and MVC All-Tournament Team member, DeAnna Wilson. ISU added three transfers and two freshmen in the off-season, including NCAA Division II Player of the Year, Paige Robinson (Drury), NJCAA All-Region VII Team member, Ta’Shonna Wright-Gaskins (Chipola College), and NJCAA All-American, Daijah Smith (most recently Wabash Valley College). Taylor Veach spirit Abbie Aalsma make up the Redbirds’ freshmen class for the 2022-23 season.
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