Huskies race to Fastbreak title

By Steve Dennis

With 41 points, Lisa Foss proved a point to Washington Husky coach Chris Gobrecht as she led the NIU Huskies to their biggest win of the young season Sunday at Chick Evans Field House.

It was dog beat dog as NIU (5-0) stunned the 13th best team in the nation for the championship of the eighth annual NIU/Contel Fastbreak Fest, 82-75.

At a banquet Saturday, Gobrecht stirred up a little controversy over the correct spelling of the team nicknames. The UW coach proclaimed the correct spelling as H-U-S-K-Y. Foss disagreed and Gobrecht said the right way was still “to be determined.”

“I’m not a good speller,” Foss said. “But, Huskie is definitely spelled with an ‘-IE.'”

Only 5-7, Foss canned jumpers over opposing players that stood several inches taller than her en route to a career-high and Fastbreak Fest record 41 points. Tabbed the tournament MVP, Foss hit a blistering 67 percent from the field (14-of-21), not to mention only one miss out of 14 tries from the free throw line.

“I’m going to talk about Lisa again, it’s kind of becoming a habit,” Albright said. “I thought we were going to win, but when I absolutely knew we were going to win that game is when Lisa missed that foul shot (with 4:30 remaining), because that made her mad and I like Lisa when she gets mad.”

Perhaps the rest of the Huskies got a little ticked off after being held scoreless for the first five minutes of the game.

That’s right, the NIU team that led the nation in scoring last season (94.5 points per game) couldn’t find the hoop early on, as the University of Washington redefined the meaning of pressure defense at the onset as they coasted to an early 8-0 lead.

“We could not get open,” Albright said. “Their defense was tremendous.”

Yet, Washington couldn’t capitalize on the point differentials all day long. UW led by as many as 13 in the first half and 12 in the second.

“Holding them scoreless for the first five minutes was a big mistake,” Gobrecht said. “We got a false sense of confidence. We thought it was going to be a piece of cake and we never did wake up when Northern started hitting their shots.”

Not only did Foss hit the big buckets in the clutch, but Toby Meeks, NIU’s only other All-Tournament Team selection, came through when it counted. Meeks overcame a cold start to tally 16 points, three assists, a trio of steals and a blocked shot.

“After a brief stay on the bench,” Albright said, “Toby came in and was tremendous. That’s as good a game as I’ve ever seen her play.”

Two players that don’t stand out in the statistics are Tracy Mondek and Dee Dee Jeske. Both juniors came off the bench to lift the Huskies in more ways than on the scoreboard.

“Dee Dee turned the game around,” Albright said. “With her defense on their point guard, she enabled us to get going and all of a sudden we were controlling them. Tracy was never intimidated and made good decisions defensiviely.”

Freshmen Cindy Conner and Angela Lockett added 10 and five points, respectively, to the Husk-IE cause.