NIU edges Nebraska despite closing rally

By Steve Dennis

Victory No. 6 almost slipped away from the NIU women’s basketball team Wednesday night.

Almost is the key word.

Despite leading the entire second half, the 18th-ranked Huskies (6-0) held on to beat a persistent Nebraska team, 87-84, in front of 1,500 fans at Chick Evans Field House.

Toby Meeks rebounded from cold first-half shooting (1-of-6) to score 13 second-period points. But the two vital free throws that the senior hit with 10 seconds left, giving NIU the three-point lead, couldn’t have been any bigger. Combine that with a crucial traveling turnover by freshman Cornhusker guard Meggan Yedsena with 3.1 seconds on the clock and the Huskies remain unbeaten.

“Once again, we did what we had to do to win the game,” NIU coach Jane Albright said. “Toby’s foul shots really iced it at the end. It makes it a lot different situation when you need three rather than two.”

Especially considering the Nebraska team (5-1) that outscored the Huskies 10-3 in the final 4:16 of the contest. The Cornhuskers, trailing by as many as 14, utilized their size advantage in the post to rally back within a point at 85-84.

That’s when Denise Dove added her magic. Dove, the smallest player on the court, came up with the biggest theft of her life. With 10 seconds remaining, Lisa Foss’ attempt to seal the game came up empty. One of the Nebraska towers snagged the rebound and Dove stepped in front of the outlet pass.

“Denise Dove had the steal of her life,” Albright said. “They had been going long and that steal was a very, very key play.”

Angela Lockett got a hand in the last-minute heroics also. The freshman ripped down an important rebound on a Cornhusker miss that would’ve given the visitors the lead with just over a minute to play.

“Angela Lockett had a very big rebound also,” Albright said. “So, you can say what you want, but still at the end of the game … our kids won it.”