Wingis bulks up for season’s grind

By David Lance

For the long haul, Dianna Wingis has bulked up.

Wingis, a junior forward on NIU’s women’s basketball team, averaged 5.5 points and 5.8 rebounds a game last season and started 11 of the Huskies’ 35 contests.

The Hammond, Ind. native’s job last year was to go to the low post and hold her own.

At 6-3, Wingis is the tallest player on the Huskies. She had the height to compete down low, but not the weight.

“When I sent Dianna home last spring, I said, ‘You just need to do one thing,'” head coach Jane Albright-Dieterle said. “‘You need to get stronger.'”

Wingis followed her coach’s orders and worked out over the summer.

“I was running three or four times a week. I was lifting weights and playing ball. I think the weightlifting really did a lot for my strength and my condition,” Wingis said.

Albright-Dieterle wants Wingis and the rest of the bangers to score more.

“I told my post players one day, probably in a fit of anger, that they like to pass the ball a whole lot,” Albright-Dieterle said. “We work with our guards and try to get them to pass it inside. Then, they (post players) go up and they’ve got a layup and then they’ll pass it to somebody else and it’s a turnover.

“I reminded them that (former Huskie center) Carol Owens, who … is the best post player that’s ever been here, had nine assists one year.”

Wingis likes the challenge.

“I think I pretty much had an average year, overall,” Wingis said. “I was getting back into the swing of things from being off two years. I wasn’t satisfied with the end of the year, so I’m really looking forward to the start of this year.

“I don’t want to have an average year at all. I won’t be happy or satisfied. We’re really going to look inside for the post players to be scorers and also to be big rebounders. So we players really have a big challenge ahead, but I think we’re all looking forward to it.”