Milwaukee returned home at the Klotsche Center to earn their sixth straight victory against Illinois State on Thursday evening in overtime, 61-59.
The Panthers were trampled by the Redbirds defense and trailed most of the first half as a result. The Redbirds started with an enthusiasm on offense that helped them take a 10-point lead.
Guard Katrina Beck was big for Illinois State with 15 points.
“Well, I give a lot of credit to Illinois State,” said Milwaukee head coach Kyle Rechlicz. “They’re ranked ninth in the country defensively, and they play like they’re ranked ninth in the country. So, it was one of those situations where we knew we had to figure out how to score.”
Bailey Farley led the Panthers with 19 points, which is her second-highest score of the season after scoring a career-high 24 in the Panthers last game against Northwestern. 15 of the 19 points came from deep.
Offensive plays like Farley’s helped Milwaukee stay in the game and get on top of ISU. The Panthers controlled most of the second half with consistent shooting. Milwaukee shot 34.7 percent to ISU’s 33.9 percent overall.
Steph Kostowicz followed Farley with a double-double of 17 points and 13 rebounds. Kostowicz was key in making plays for the Panthers, as she went for several lay ups, including an and-one play and the lay up that sent the game into overtime.
Jamie Reit added 11 points for Milwaukee.
“We found a way to win, and that’s what matters,” said Rechlicz.
The game was back and forth for much of overtime, but Milwaukee got ahold of both ends of the floor to get the win.
It’s another road stretch for the Panthers as they take on Fort Wayne on Sunday at 1 p.m and state-rivals Madison on Thursday at 7 p.m. The Panthers return to the Klotsche on Sunday, Dec. 17 for a cross-rivalry matchup against Marquette at 4 p.m.