Flames not hot enough for NIU

By Carl Ackerman

Many things are unpredictable in life, but when the NIU women’s basketball team journeyed to Illinois-Chicago the end results were about as predictable as the sun coming up tomorrow.

UIC has struggled this year in the win column with a 1-15, 0-4 record, and the Huskies (16-3, 5-0) did not help any with an 83-50 triumph of the Flames last night.

Carol Owens played a critical part in the victory with her 24 points and eight rebounds, which made her the all-time leading scorer for NIU women with 1,825 points. The previous record (1,810) was held by Lisa Starosta, who played between 1980-‘85.

Owens, who was double teamed throughout the game, captured the record with 1:26 left in the first half on a second-attempt lay up from underneath.

“Carol was the one that was our big scorer tonight. Their (UIC’s) double coverage didn’t seem to bother her at all,” said NIU coach Jane Albright.

Another Huskie who seemed immune to the UIC pressure was Tammy Hinchee, who is suffering from patella tendinitis in her knee. Hinchee tallied 13 points and snagged eight rebounds in her 29 minutes of action.

Although the Flames were not a major threat to the 24th-ranked Huskies, Albright was elated with her team’s display.

“We did really well. I was really pleased with our performance. After coming off an emotional loss to Vanderbilt (87-83), we could have let down but we didn’t. In the second half, we had a lot of steals (13). It always looked like we were concentrated,” said Albright.

Lisa Foss shined for NIU with 18 points and five steals. Denise Dove collected seven assists. Although Kris Weis notched just two points, she had a “really catalyst performance” with key rebounds and steals.

It wasn’t just the big guns that rose to the occasion for NIU as Albright explained, “Everybody contributed. Our substitution came in and played hard.” Among the contributors were Toby Meeks, who made six free-throws and had two steals.

UIC was led in scoring by Sheryl Lynch with 13 points, eleven of which came in the second half. Angela Gilbert led in rebounds for UIC with eight, and Michelle Crosby added seven.

The pace of the game was inconsistent in the first half with neither team being able to build any steady control. This was partially due to a lot of stops in the play.

“The first half was really sporadic. It was a slow tempo. They were trying to keep us out of our tempo. We had a lot of flow in the second half,” said Albright.

NIU built a 5-0 lead in the game’s first minute on an Owens’ lay up and a Dove three-pointer. The closest the Flames came to the Huskies was 28-20 with 7:51 left in the first. NIU proceeded that with a 17-6 run in which Owens accounted for 11 points. The surge also put NIU up 47-26 at the half.

NIU shot 44 percent from the floor on the night while sinking 19 of 21 from the charity stripe. UIC shot just 36 percent from the field and 39 percent from the line.