Lady Vols’ 17-0 run notches win

By Carl Ackerman

When the NIU women’s basketball team went south to play 5th-ranked Tennessee, it had one thing on its mind—pull out an upset.

However, Tennessee had something very different in mind and pulled out a hard-fought 83-62 victory over the Huskies.

The score was not reflective of the type of game played. NIU was up 4-2 at the start of the game and 42-41 with 15:59 left to play. The game never went more than 10 points either way until the latter half of the second. By then, the Huskie big guns ran into foul trouble which limited their playing time.

As a result, UT turned it up a notch and went on a 17-0 run over 4:30. In that time, Tammy Hinchee and Lisa Foss fouled out. Carol Owens fouled out minutes later.

“We got beat by a great team tonight. Tennessee has the greatest tradition in women’s basketball. We have a great ball team, too, but we didn’t rebound as well (in the second half) as we did in the first half. You have to credit Tennessee’s defense,” said NIU coach Jane Albright.

Not only did UT’s defense keep NIU to its lowest offensive performance of the season, but the Lady Volunteers also hampered Owens’ and Hinchee’s point total to 15 and 12, respectively. One person UT could not stop (at least in the first half) was junior guard Foss, who tallied 21 points (19 in the first half).

“Lisa Foss did a great job for us tonight. She played a phenomenal first half. I would have liked to have had her shoot more; we would have liked to had her in the game. Not having Foss, Hinchee and Owens in the game at the same time cramped our style,” said Albright.

Key factors in the loss were the rebounds and free throws. UT outrebounded NIU 49-33 and had 23 more chances from the charity stripe than the Huskies.

Thanks in part to Foss’ performance, the Huskies played with confidence throughout the first half as Foss explained.

“When we took the lead early on, the team felt really together. We were playing confidentally, then it seemed to shift the other way,” said Foss.

NIU was down 36-29 at the half, but at that time the Huskies were still very confident.

“At halftime, we were excited. We felt like the first two minutes of play would dictate the second half,” said Albright.

The first two minutes favored NIU, who pulled within two points twice before enjoying a brief 42-41 lead on a Dee Dee Jeske bank shot. Shortly after that UT took charge.

“I felt like the first half belonged to Northern Illinois, and the second half belonged to Tennessee. We wanted to keep their (NIU) shooting under control. They shot 48 percent for the game, which I think is excellent, because I thought we played good defense,” said UT coach Pat Summitt.

UT was led in scoring by Tonya Edwards’ 19 points. She was followed by Daedra Charles with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Carla McGhee and Dena Head added 10 each for UT.

“In the second half, we picked the tempo up and we played better defense,” said UT’s Tonya Edwards. “But we’re still not shooting the ball well. In the first half, we played NIU’s tempo as well as their game.” NIU slips to 17-4 overall and maintains its 6-0 conference mark. The Huskies are currently ranked 23rd in the nation by the AP poll.

Hinchee, who rounded up seven rebounds, is three shy of NIU’s all-time record of 1,003 held by Lisa Starosta (1980-85).