Soaring Huskies head to world’s aviation capital

By Todd McMahon

The NIU women’s basketball team is flying high, so it seems only appropriate its next mission will take place in Dayton, Ohio.

The Huskies (7-5, 2-0) carry a three-game winning streak to the aviation capital of the world to resume North Star Conference action against Wright State University Saturday at 4:15 p.m.

And if the last three wins have been any indication, look for Jane Albright-Dieterle’s cohesive unit to keep turning up the heat. After averaging just over 71 points their first nine games, the Huskies exploded for 282 points this past week.

Although the wins over Cleveland State, Akron and Southern Illinois all had the big offensive outputs, the one common denominator is that NIU came together as a team.

“We’re starting to get used to each other,” Albright-Dieterle said. “We’re starting to become a very versatile team. We’re not as one-dimensional as we had been.

“We can press full court. We can play halfcourt. That’s probably the best thing that’s happening to this team. We have a lot of different dimensions.”

Albright-Dieterle has been able to get the most out of her players, including the bench. Nine Huskies are averaging at least 10 minutes a game. Only Cindy Conner has been used for more than 30 minutes a contest.

More importantly, Albright-Dieterle’s reserves have stepped up in the last three games by averaging just over 30 points. “We’re seeing playing time,” the coach said. “It’s catching up with us, and we’re a little more confident right now.”

The confidence will grow even further with a win on the road against the Raiders, especially with Valparaiso and Tennessee around the corner next week for the Huskies. “These (conference) games are crucial for us,” Albright-Dieterle said.