Season begins for cagers

By Kari Brackett

NIU cager fans got a sneak preview at the bewitching hour Friday.

Opening night for both the men’s and women’s basketball squads was both a show for the crowd and a hint of what can be expected for the 1988-89 seasons.

While “Midnight Madness” started off with the showing of “Hoosiers” followed by a light-hearted game between alumni and media—with the Alumni Red defeating the Alumni White 62-60—the true reason for Friday evening began just before midnight when the women’s team hit the floor for the first intrasquad scrimmage of the season.

After the women’s red team defeated the white team 17-12, the men came out to show their talent, including their vertical-jumping ability, by spending the first 15 minutes entertaining the 600-plus crowd with slam dunking. Although the late night might have had some people ready to sleep, they surely woke up, seeing the players reach great heights. The night ended with a 12-minute scrimmage by the men, with both teams tying at 30.

“We are going to have an up-tempo, exciting style,” NIU men’s coach Jim Rosborough said of his squad. “We want to identify (with the fans). If people are excited by the dunk, then we’ll dunk. We want to get the students behind us this year.”

Both Rosborough and women’s coach Jane Albright said they were pleased with Friday’s turnout.

“I thought it was great,” Albright said. “The crowd was enthusiastic, and the band and the cheerleaders added to the atmosphere.”

“I thought it was really well done for the first try,” Rosborough said. “It was pleasantly surprising to see the crowd we had.”

The show didn’t last long. Saturday was the official day for the teams to practice, and the men were back on the court by 9 a.m. “It (Saturday’s practice) was the best in my three years in terms of first practices,” Rosborough said.

Albright said she also was pleased with the first practice, but there was one major disappointment. Toby Meeks reinjured her knee one-half hour into practice. Albright said she thought there might be a possibility of Meeks being out for the season.

Albright thought Lisa Foss’ performance was strong despite her knee injury.

“Lisa did well,” Albright said. “She went through all but two drills. She did more than we anticipated.”

Missing from the floor was Dianna Wingis. Wingis is back home in Hammond, Ind., this semester taking care of family problems and might be back next semester.