PEORIA, Ill. -- After playing a pair of road games, the Bradley women’s basketball team returns to Renaissance Coliseum Wednesday for a 5 p.m. game against in-state non-conference foe Eastern Illinois. The game is the first contest of a doubleheader, which also includes a 7:30 p.m. men’s game against IUPUI.
Tickets for the doubleheader are available at the Renaissance Coliseum Ticket Office for $20 between the baselines, while endzone seats may be purchased as part of the Coliseum 4-Pack ($50 for four tickets, four hot dogs and four drinks). In addition, anyone who brings in a new, unwrapped toy to Renaissance Coliseum for the Bradley University Toys for Tots Drive will be entered into the NCAA National Ticket Giveaway drawing for 2014 Final Four Tickets.
Bradley (2-4 overall) looks to end a four-game losing skid Wednesday against Eastern Illinois (2-5 overall), which has lost its last two games. The series between the Braves and Panthers is locked at 18-18 after Bradley edged EIU 66-65 last year in Charleston, Ill. Each of the last two games in the series have been decided by one point and the last four meetings have had a final margin of five points or less.
Bradley All-Access subscribers will be able to view a video stream of Wednesday’s game against EIU. BradleyBraves.com will also provide links to live stats and an audio stream.
Wednesday’s contest marks the third of four games on the regular-season slate against in-state non-conference opponents. The Braves are 8-2 in the last 10 matchups with non-conference teams from Illinois and Bradley is 21-9 against non-league squads from the Land of Lincoln over the last six seasons. During that span, the Braves own a 12-2 (.857) home record against non-conference teams from the Prairie State.
Bradley has opened the month of December with a victory each of the last three years and the Braves are 12-3 (.800) in their last 15 non-conference games in the final month of the calendar year. Over the last six seasons, BU is 20-8 (.714) in December non-conference contests. Bradley has won six consecutive non-conference home games in the month of December and boasts a 10-2 (.833) mark in December non-conference home tilts since the start of the 2007-08 season.
Senior Catie O'Leary (Janesville, Wis./Parker/Wisconsin) is coming off her best offensive game of the season (16 points) and scored her 700th career point last week at #7 Kentucky. She is five assists short of reaching 150 in her career and would be just the 11th player in program history to collect 700 career points, 400 rebounds and 150 assists. O’Leary is 36th in career scoring at Bradley with 710 points and is second in the MVC in rebounding this season at 10.2 boards per game.
Junior Michelle Young (Woodbury, Minn./Woodbury) scored a game-high 27 points in last week’s setback at Kentucky and is the first Bradley player to score 26 or more points at least three times in a season since Sara Bailey had five outings with 26 or more in 2001-02. Young has scored in double figures in each of her last nine home games, averaging 17.3 points on 60 percent shooting in those games. She leads the MVC in scoring at 20.7 points per game and also averages a league-best 8.2 free throw attempts per game.
Senior Kelsey Budd (Prairie du Sac, Wis./Sauk Prairie) is the only player to rank in the top 10 in the MVC in scoring and also rank in the top five in the league in assists and steals. One of 10 individuals in school history with 700 career points, 250 assists and 125 steals, Budd has a chance to become the fifth player in Bradley history to lead the team in both assists and steals in two or more seasons.
Following the mid-week contest against Eastern Illinois, Bradley faces its second SEC foe in three games Sunday at Missouri. The Braves and Tigers are scheduled to tip things off at 2 p.m. in Columbia, Mo., to open a three-game road swing.