Foss ignites NIU with 32 points

By Carl Ackerman

NIU’s women’s basketball squad is back to its winning ways after defeating Minnesota 98-75 in its season-opener Tuesday night.

Junior Lisa Foss led all scorers with a career-high 32 points at UM’s Williams Arena in front of 578 spectators. Foss paid the price when she suffered a possible broken finger on her left (non-shooting) hand, but finished the game.

“There were two things we wanted to do,” said Huskie coach Jane Albright. “One was play a pressure defense. We knew Minnesota had excellent shooters. Second, we wanted to play an up-tempo running game. After the first 10 minutes, we finally got into that game plan, and it seemed to go flawless after that.”

UM was up 26-25 with 5:50 left in the first half, but the Huskies battled back. Kris Weis connected on two free throws, and Carol Owens dropped a two-pointer for a 29-26 Huskie lead. UM cut the lead to two, before NIU busted out to a 47-34 halftime lead.

NIU snagged six unanswered points in its first three minutes of the second half, which boosted their lead to 57-38. The Huskies never looked back and went on to lead UM by 23 points (88-65) with 5:27 left. NIU equaled that margin when 6-foot-1 freshman forward Tiana Burkholder swooshed the game’s final point.

Turnovers proved to be the deciding factor for the Huskies. UM commited 31, most of which NIU converted on. NIU surrendered just 10 turnovers.

“We had a great team effort, especially defensively,” said Albright. “We finished with 16 steals, and I believe we converted the majority of them to points.”

NIU’s starting five finished with double figures. Foss was 16 for 29 from the field and grabbed eight rebounds. Her 16 field goals tied the Huskie women’s single-game record which originaly belonged to Owens (16 vs. DePaul—1-19-89).

Owens tallied 19 points and 12 rebounds. Tammy Hinchee finished with 16 points and nine rebounds, and Weis added 13 points.

It was a special game for Denise Dove, a native of New Hope, Minn., who gave a solid performance with 10 points, eight assists and six steals.

“Denise did a good job quarterbacking. She ran our offense well,” said Albright. “Lisa Foss had one of her best all-around games.”

The only lowlight for NIU was a right-ankle injury to 5-foot-7 sophomore guard Dee Dee Jeske with 10:42 left in the first half. Jeske was going for a rebound under UM’s basket when the incident occurred. She was on crutches by the end of the night, but there was no swelling.

The Golden Gophers were led in scoring by junior forward Ellen Kramer, who tallied 17 points and gained 12 rebounds. She was followed by Bergin’s 15 points and 13 rebounds. Senior forward Jennifer Hall added 10 points for UM.

NIU outrebounded UM 45-32, and shot 50 percent from the field (20-40) in the second half. Overall, NIU shot 46 percent with its field goals (41-90) compared to UM’s 44 percent (27-61). About the only area UM led in was in free throws with 75 percent (21-28).

UM’s season record slips to 2-1 overall, and the NIU-UM series is locked at 2-2.

NIU makes its home debut in the 4 p.m. game of Saturday’s Seventh Annual NIU Fastbreak Fest against Ball State. South Carolina will battle Wright State at 2 p.m. in Saturday’s first round.