Huskies crush Valpo, 103-65

By Bob Regan

It’s seems like every time the NIU women’s basketball team takes the court these days there is some new accomplishment.

Thursday night’s 103-65 trouncing of Valparaiso University at Chick Evans Field House was no different.

Five minutes into the first half, junior Tammy Hinchee made her mark in the record books by sinking two shots from the free-throw line to put her over the 1,000 career-point total.

The 6-2 forward from Cuba, Ill., became only the ninth player in NIU women’s basketball history to accomplish the feat. Hinchee (1,019 points) joins fellow teammates Lisa Foss, Carol Owens, and Gena Stubbs on the elite list led by former Huskie Lisa Starosta, who tops the list with 1,810.

“It feels good to get it (the 1,00th point) over with finally,” Hinchee said. “There were a lot of people kidding me and stuff because I didn’t get it last game.”

Besides the Hinchee hoopla, Owens received pre-game recognition for joining the 1,000-point club. NIU president John LaTourette was on hand to present an honorary game ball to the 6-3 scoring machine. Owens jumped into the “club” in the Huskies’ 94-86 defeat of Darmouth earlier in the season.

Owens also learned of another honor prior to the Valpo game. The NIU center was the recipient of the North Star Conference Player of the Week award for the third time this season and the second time in two weeks.

The game itself (which boosted the NIU winning-streak to 10 and gives the Huskies a 14-3 overall record) was controlled by a never-relenting Huskie defense. Heads-up play and quick hands enabled NIU to rack up 25 steals and create 38 Crusador turnovers.

Offensively, Stubbs exploded for 26 points to lead the NIU attack. The 5-8 senior added eight assists, one block and six steals to wrap up a successful night.

“It was the flow of the game,” Stubbs said. “It was a fast paced game. Actually (my shooting) was awful. There were a couple of shots I shouldn’t of taken, but I did.”

Two other NIU players scored more than 20 points. The “Twin Towers,” Owens and Hinchee, pumped in 22 points each. Under the boards, Stubbs, Owens and Hinchee compiled 8 rebounds apiece.

The two Huskie guards, Denise Dove and Kris Weis, did not have outstanding offensive games. But Dove’s court leadership and ball handling – along with Weis’ never-say-quit style of play kept the NIU team hustling up and down the floor.

“The game was another team effort at its height,” said head coah Jane Albright. “Everybody had their roles and played them well. It wasn’t any one particular person. We talk so much about our defense, but we felt like we really haven’t shown our home crowd that great defensive game as far as getting a lot of steals and being able to convert.”

NIU remains on top of the NSC with a perfect 5-0 ledger, and is still unbeaten in the “Huskie Den” (8-0).

The Huskies’ next two games will be up north in Wisconsin. On Feb. 2, NIU squares up against Wisconsin-Green Bay. Then the Huskies move to play Marquette on Feb. 4.