Chicago, IL -- University of Illinois-Chicago and Howard University met in competition this afternoon for the first time. The visiting Howard University Bison came into today's game returning eight players from last year's roster along with four newcomers, two true freshmen, and two redshirt freshmen.
The home UIC Flames entered today's game missing senior guard and defensive powerhouse Terri Bender, who is still awaiting MRI results to learn the extent of an injury suffered in practice.
Coach Miller on the status of her senior guard, Terri Bender, "We think she is going to be fine. We don't know the results of the MRI; we are hopeful she is back very soon."
The crowd was minimal due to the noon start time, and the play on the court seemed to be affected by the lack of energy in the arena. The first points weren't scored until 7:23 mark in the first quarter, and Howard was held to 2 points until free throws by Allese Morrison made 3 and 4 at the 3:06 mark.
Though the quarter ended with her team up 15-6, UIC head coach Regina Miller could be heard throughout the arena encouraging, directing and challenging her players to compete and set the tone for the rest of the season to come.
"Every time we step on the court we think success has a certain look, sound and feel. We want to look a certain way when we are on the court, very competitive all of the time. Sound, we need to be vocal encouraging each other. Feel, how we make people feel that come watch us play; Is this a brand people want to associate with," explained Coach Miller on her team's game plan through this 2015-2016 season.
Howard came out during the second quarter in a half court zone that initially slowed the scoring of UIC. The Bison cut the lead from 9 to 5 within the first 45 seconds of the second quarter, but couldn't keep it together on the other end turning over the ball too many times to make the switch up on defense effective. Howard finished the first half with 14 turnovers, and UIC headed to the locker room with a 36-21 lead over the Bison.
Heading into the third and forth quarters, the game was pretty much decided, and each coach took the second half as an opportunity to play different combinations of players to see what jived and what didn't heading into their next regular season games.
UIC played 12 different players before the forth quarter started, all of the players that played scored except for three. Howard played all nine players that traveled with the team, and again all but three of those players scored.
The player of the game was redshirt senior forward Ruvanna Campbell. At one point in the third quarter, Campbell was fouled going up for a layup and took a few too many seconds getting up off of the ground for the liking of the UIC faithful.
Those in attendance held their breath in hopes that Campbell would not also find her way to the injured list alongside Bender. All wound up well, and Campbell bucketed 19 points, 14 rebounds, and 3 blocks in her 31 minutes of play.
"Ruvanna is an all around player for us, she plays all five positions. She is a great rebounder, she did that well today. When she rebounds the ball the has the green light to push it in transition. She is very versatile, I am glad she is on my team and I don't have to create a game plan to defend against her," quote from Coach Miller in her post game interview.
The Flames look to earn their second win against Central Michigan on November 27th, and the Bison look to make up for this loss against Northwestern on November 15th.