Dove, Weis guide Huskies to top of NSC

By Dave Elsesser

By downing arch-rival DePaul 86-82 Thursday night, the NIU women’s basketball team took the first step in its drive toward winning a North Star Conference championship.

And while leading scorer Carol Owens netted a career-high 34 points to pace the Huskies, a lot of the media’s attention after the game was focused on NIU’s backcourt tandem of Denise Dove and Kris Weis.

Dove and Weis responded by pointing to the team’s accomplishments, but the pair had to feel satisfied after the Huskies won their eighth-straight game and moved to 3-0 in NSC play.

Indeed, the two NIU guards have been as instrumental as anyone else in the Huskies’ quest to change the guard in the North Star.

Just ask DePaul coach Doug Bruno, whose squad fell to 1-1 in the North Star and 7-4 overall. Bruno could only watch in overtime as Dove hit a key 3-pointer and stole the ball away from DePaul’s All-American forward Diana Vines.

Dove’s heroics gave NIU a five-point lead ith 34 seconds left in the overtime session. Weis followed with a pair of free throws that put the game on ice.

“The key to her (NIU coach Jane Albright’s) season this year has got to be Denise Dove and the Weis kid,” said Bruno, whose Blue Demons have won the last two NSC titles. “You lose kids like (the injured Toby) Meeks and you lose people like (the injured Lisa) Foss and people start to think it’s over.

“But they’re (the Huskies) a harder team to guard this year. I’m not saying that anyone’s going to guard Foss, but with Dove’s 3-point potential you’ve got to guard her out there and you can’t play any gimmicks or one-man zones.”

Bruno wasn’t the only person who noticed the play by the NIU guards. Aside from the statistical efforts put forth by Dove (16 points, 6 assists, 2 steals) and Weis (12 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals), Albright complimented Dove’s ball-handling skills and Weis’ defense against bigger low-post players.

“(Dove) made a lot of really good decisions tonight,” said Albright, whose 12-3 Huskies play host to Illinois-Chicago Saturday night at 7 p.m. “And Weis was probably the one player that they (DePaul) were surprised about.”

Still, Dove and Weis downplayed their own efforts after the game, and complimented everyone else – including the school-record crowd of 1,254.

“We love our fans and we want them back,” Dove said.

“They (the fans) were like a sixth man on the floor tonight,” Weis added.