Freshmen feel at home as cagers in NIU lineup

By Bob Regan

The 1988-89 NIU women’s basketball team has two new faces on the block—two faces that head coach Jane Albright and her staff feel will fit right in the Huskie lineup.

Entering this year’s campaign are freshmen Tracy Mondek and Dee Dee Jeske. Both women played successful high school ball and were named to their respective all-area squads. The former preps are looking to contribute as much as they can to a growing NIU program.

Mondek, a graduate from Hinsdale South High School in Darien, Ill., brings her 6-foot-1 frame to fill a forward position. The freshman put together a 23-point average in her senior year as a Hornet and averaged 10 rebounds per game.

Coach Albright said Mondek will make an immediate impact on the team and can only improve as the season goes along.

“Tracy has added a lot to our post game already. She’s a very quick jumper and she’s a good rebounder. She’s not as physical right now as Tammy (Hinchee) and Carol (Owens), but she’s much more of a finesse player,” Albright said.

The new forward agrees with Albright’s assessment and also cites a couple differences between high school basketball and collegiate ball.

“It takes a lot more dedication to play in college. The game is very fast paced compared to high school, and there is a lot more expected out of you. You have to be ready to go everyday,” Mondek said.

Switching from the forward position to the guard position is Jeske. The 5-foot-7 recruit from Shabbona, Ill., hopes to use her fast style of play to aid the Huskies in their quest for a successful season. Jeske had to make a position change when she came to NIU and is in the process of becoming more comfortable at guard.

Albright expects good things from Jeske, mainly excitement. Jeske is busy improving her outside shot and learning to get more proficient with her right hand, but when she settles down performance will be expected.

“Defensively I’ll be very disappointed if Dee Dee is not one of the best defensive players on my squad. I think she is going to be able to come off the bench and make some big plays,” Albright said.

Mondek and Jeske agree that the team has a very strong committment to winning, and both players said their intention is to work hard and contribute as best they can at NIU.

With the loss of Diana Wingis, Nikki Vandehey and Toby Meeks, coach Albright will be using Mondek and Jeske sooner than planned. Also, the return of junior Lisa Foss is still uncertain which makes the role of the freshmen even more important come game time on Nov. 18.