Huskies warm up with Western

By Carl Ackerman

Chalk up one more victory for the NIU women’s basketball team. This time it was Western Illinois who succumed to the prey of the hungry Huskies in a 92-70 feast Thursday at WIU.

NIU’s win stretches it’s winning streak to 10 and boosts its record up to 15-2 overall with a 4-0 mark in the North Star Conference.

“The key in this game was our versatility,” said six-year NIU coach Jane Albright. “They packed it in on our post players. That opened up Lisa Foss, Denise Dove and Kris Weis. We did a nice job of controlling the boards.”

Versatility was indeed a key factor for the Huskies, who finished with all five starters in double figures.

Foss led the pack with 21 points. Tammy Hinchee, who played in front of numerous hometown fans from nearby Cuba, Ill., played an all-around game with 18 points, seven rebounds, three assists and four blocked shots.

Other big point producers for NIU were Carol Owens with 16 points (seven rebounds), Dove with 15 points (nine assists) and Weis, who snagged 12 points. Tracy Mondek tallied a game-high eight rebounds for the Huskies.

“Lisa Foss had a nice game. Denise got us off to a positive start. She made good decisions,” said Albright.

Early in the game, neither team seemed to take control. However, the Huskies found themselves up by 13 at the half with a 42-29 lead.

NIU’s field goal percentage leaped from 49 percent to 68 percent in the second half that was highlighted by a consistent defense which halted WIU’s scoring attack for five-and-one-half minutes.

The Westerwinds were led in scoring by Gail Dlask, who racked up a game-high 27 points along with six rebounds. Amy Houtzel finished with 12 points, and Robin Hasemann added 10 points. Joe Hanig, who was ranked No. 9 in the nation with assists (7.1 apg) on Jan. 15, bundled up seven more hand-offs.

WIU’s record sinks to 5-12 overall and 2-6 in the Gateway Conference. The Huskies have won the last seven meetings between the state rivals which boosts NIU’s series lead to 14-10 in favor of the Huskies.

NIU will have it’s hands full Monday when the team travels to 30th-ranked Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tenn. Currently, the Lady Commodores of Vanderbilt post a 13-6, 2-1 record but battle two other teams prior to NIU.

“The win against Western was a good tune up for Vanderbilt,” said Albright. “We need to play on their court and prove something. This game would be a bigger win than DePaul (81-75), because it means more nationally. The (Southeastern Conference) sends a lot of teams to the NCAA tournament. We’re excited about the challenge.”