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Redbird women’s golf makes history

The Illinois State women’s golf team proved that the fourth time is a charm, as the Redbirds overcame the odds and recorded their fourth-consecutive State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Championship title at the Weibring Golf Club on April 23, a first in the history of the league.

Head coach Darby Sligh was named MVC Coach of the Year for the fourth-straight year, becoming the first coach in conference history to receive the honor four years in-a-row.

The victory marked Illinois State’s 11th team title, and the first time a host school has won the championship since Bradley in 1999. The weekend’s tournament was the first time a championship was limited to two rounds since 1996.

In defending its championship crown, ISU carded a two-round 597 (305-292), placing the `Birds 21 strokes ahead of second-place Wichita State, the largest winning margin in six years.

Brianna Cooper collected the Redbird’s 12th individual title, in school history and became the first freshman to win the MVC Championship since LPGA member and former Redbird Samantha Richdale won in 2003.

Cooper led Illinois State through the two-round, 36-hole tournament and took over in the second round, firing a two-under-par 70. She finished out the tournament with a two-round 144 (74-70). Cooper was also honored as the 2011 MVC Newcomer of the Year and named to the 2011 all-conference team.