Winning draught ends as women’s team dominates Big Ten nemesis NU

By Carl Ackerman

Consistency, determination and physical intimidation are among the ingredients that make up a Top 20 basketball team, and the NIU women’s squad proved it has what it takes in Tuesday night’s action.

Although the Huskies are not officially ranked in the nation’s Top 20, NIU’s dominating 99-74 win against Big Ten foe Northwestern was an all-around effort. NIU coach Jane Albright described the victory as the team’s best performance this season.

What provoked such an aggressive effort by the Huskies?

To answer this, one must look at two things. First, NIU is coming off of a disappointing and emotional loss to South Carolina in last Sunday’s Fastbreak Fest Tournament. Second, NIU has not beaten NU in the past three seasons.

As a result, the Wildcats paid the price—and paid it dearly.

“They outplayed us in every phase of the game,” said NU coach Don Perrilli.

An important element of NIU’s win was that it wasn’t due to just a few players. Instead, it was a consistent effort from the entire team.

“What you saw tonight was an ultimate team,” said Albright. “We’re mad (because of Sunday’s loss). We’re going to be mad for a long time. We were physically and emotionally hungry.”

Carol Owens, who notched 23 points, 14 rebounds, five steals and four blocks, felt her effort was strongly influenced by the losses to USC and NU.

“I don’t think I can explain how I felt (after Sunday’s loss) even though South Carolina was ranked 16th,” said Owens. “It (the win) was a big factor, because we never beat Northwestern since I have been here. I felt like ‘lets just cut out all the junk and lets beat Northwestern.'”

Junior guard Denise Dove (11 points, 7 assists) agreed with her teammate’s feelings.

“I felt like I just wanted to crank it up a notch higher tonight,” said Dove. “We wanted revenge from the previous three years against Northwestern, and because of the loss on Sunday we just wanted to come back stronger than ever, and I think we proved that.”