ODU press flattens Huskie women

By Bob Regan

Baseball legend Yogi Berra once said that the game isn’t over until it’s over. In the case of the NIU women’s basketball team, head coach Jane Albright might have wished Saturday night’s game only lasted the first 20 minutes.

Despite leading 37-35 as the first half came to a close, the Huskies came up short in their season opener in Norfolk, Va., losing to Old Dominion, 81-69.

“Old Dominion’s half-court press messed us up in the second half, but we didn’t really execute too well in the second half.” Albright said. “I was very disappointed with our performance in the second half. Gena Stubbs was the only bright spot.

“Our post play just wasn’t what we needed tonight. You have to give Old Dominion credit. They’re an established program and played a very good game. We just didn’t have the composure we needed in the second half.”

Stubbs led the way for the Huskies in the first half by nailing 15 points. With 6:50 left in the first period, the Huskies opened up a nine-point lead, 24-15, only to have the Lady Monarchs battle back to within two.

As the second half got under way, the lead changed hands a couple of times before ODU’s Kim McQuarter cashed in to put the Lady Monarch’s ahead 45-44 on a layup with 16:41 remaining. ODU increased its lead to eight before NIU rallied to narrow the margin to one, 64-63, as Stubbs sank a 3-pointer. Unfortunately, the Lady Monarchs fought their way back to lead 74-66 with 2:34 remaining in the game.

The Huskies last hurrah came when sophomore Denise Dove sank a 3-point shot to cut the lead to five. However, ODU delivered the final blows and handed NIU its first loss of the season.

Stubbs had a game-high 25 points, eight rebounds, two assists and three steals in the Huskie defeat. Other NIU standouts in double figures were Lisa Foss with 12, Carol Owens, 11 and Tammy Hinchee, 11. Hinchee also cleaned the boards for NIU with a game-best 17 rebounds. The Huskies shot a dismal 25 percent from the field in the second half which rounded out the total game percentage to .360.

ODU worked in contrast to the Huskie decline. The Lady Monarchs improved on their first-half shooting percentage of .410 by making 17 of 27 in the second half (63 percent). Overall, ODU shot 50 percent from the field.

NIU will try to rectify its East Coast loss on Thursday when the Huskies play host to the Westerwinds of Western Illinois at 7 p.m. in the Chick Evans Field House.