NIU clashes with undefeated foes

By Steve Dennis

Two teams making dents in Tuesday’s women’s basketball AP Poll collide Wednesday in a battle of the undefeated.

NIU, ranked 18th in the country, and the University of Nebraska, checking in at No. 35, put 5-0 records on the line tonight at 7:00 in the Chick Evans Field House.

After knocking off the then 13th-ranked University of Washington, the Huskies vaulted from their previous 26th spot. That is one spot lower than the Huskies’ best-ever showing in the rankings, which came in the final AP Poll last season.

The Huskies finished the year with a 26-5 mark and ended up No. 17 in the final AP Poll. Even though the Huskies are off to the 5-0 start, seventh-year coach Jane Albright is content with the team’s early position.

“Being voted 18th is definitely a fair vote,” Albright said. “It couldn’t have been fairer.”

Checking in two teams ahead of NIU is Washington. The Huskies just knocked off UW for the title of the Fastbreak Fest (82-75), yet Albright considers Washington’s three-place drop from No. 13 to No. 16 a legitimate move.

“I think it was also very fair to have Washington drop only three places,” Albright said. “I’m very satisfied with the results.”

Another team that notched some national recognition in Tuesday’s AP Poll is the Cornhuskers from Nebraska. The Cornhuskers come to DeKalb riding the “Momentum Train.”

“They are a very good team,” Albright said. “It would certainly be the game of their season if they came in here and beat us. So we’ll have to be ready.”

Nebraska returned all 14 players from its 10-18 squad one year ago. So far, the experience has paid off. The Cornhuskers, just like NIU, have two tournament championships under its belt already.

The Big Eight Conference foes won the UN/Wimmer’s Invitational and this past weekend’s Ohio State Invitational. The only time these two schools met resulted in a NIU 93-69 triumph Jan. 1990.

“I’m glad we’re playing them in our own fieldhouse,” Albright said. “Because they’ll certainly be a challenge for us.”