Boards dictate results

By Todd McMahon

When all was said and done after Saturday’s NIU/GTE Fastbreak Fest championship game, rebounding ended up being the decisive factor throughout the two-day tournament.

Bolstered by a two-game total of 99 rebounds, Purdue simply dominated inside on its way to winning the ninth edition of the Fest.

In their 83-68 title victory over NIU, the Boilermakers registered 50 rebounds. Of those, 27 came in the first half and almost half (23) were on the offensive end, where Purdue had numerous second and third chances.

As Miami (Ohio) head coach Linda Wunder foresaw Friday after her Redskins were defeated by the Huskies 83-75, “I think whoever controls the boards will win tomorrow (Saturday) night.”

NIU finished with 34 rebounds against Purdue. Only 14 of those came in the first 20 minutes, and point guard E.C. Hill finished as the high-Huskie rebounder with eight.

“The fact that we were able to dominate the boards was probably the key factor in our victory,” Purdue head coach Lin Dunn said.

Rebounding was a key for both teams Friday. In NIU’s victory over Miami, the Huskies finished with a 47-36 advantage, paced by Dianna Wingis’ 10 rebounds. The Boilermakers used a 49-28 rebounding edge to defeat Kansas State 75-52.

Although NIU head coach Jane Albright-Dieterle was discouraged by the rebounding of her team against Purdue, she did see some positives out on the court.

“In the first half, our defense was there, and the effort was there,” she said. “We really rattled them and forced them into a lot of turnovers (27). However, where we forced them into making an error, we couldn’t capitalize.

“I thought we matched up with them, but we just didn’t beat them tonight. They were just better than we were tonight, but we never quit.

“On a night like this, we just have to remind ourselves that we’re focusing for March. The next tournament we have here is (for the chance) to go to the NCAA Tournament.”