Albright still without a point

By Dan Moran

With the season opener at Butler less than a month away, all the pieces seem to be in place for the NIU women’s basketball team.

That is, all except for one. As the Huskies entered their third week of practice, head coach Jane Albright was ready to start concentrating on offense—but was still undecided as to who would replace Val Leitzen at point guard.

“Well, right now we’re looking at four people,” Albright said, “but no one has stood out so far.”

The four candidates are senior Nikki Dallas, sophomores Kris Weis and Toby Meeks and freshman Denise Dove. Of the four, only Dallas and Dove have seen much action at the point—Dallas in relief of Leitzen last year and Dove in high school.

Albright had the field-general position on her mind even before Leitzen ended her career with 298 assists, including 143 last year. At one point, Albright was even considering forward Gena Stubbs and off-guard Lisa Foss for the job.

But both Stubbs and Foss pack too much of an offensive punch to put them in the position of setting up the scoring. Foss was asked to evaluate her teammates.

“That’s kind of tough,” Foss said, choosing her words carefully. “They all have things they do well, and things they’re not so good at—well, let’s just say they all have good and bad points.”

Foss ran through the strong points, saying Meeks was “good for quickness and speed,” Dove for “ball control” and Dallas for her speed. Foss said Weis “shoots good,” since most of her experience comes at off-guard.

Albright said she will not make a decision on the matter for a couple of weeks. The four candidates all spent time at the point during Wednesday’s practice, and Foss said they probably will continue to do so until one rises above the others.

“It’s on who the coaches think clicks best,” Foss said, adding that each player’s success may depend on the style of play. “If we’re working the ball up, the one who’s quickest will do good. Under a controlled offense, somebody like Denise would do better.

“This year, we’ll mostly be pushing it up, and that’s tough. Out of the four, Toby and Nikki are the quick ones,” said Foss, who added she has no preference among the four.

Otherwise, the Huskies are fine-tuning for the Nov. 28 game at Butler. Foss said the emphasis has shifted from such mundane but essential tasks as perfecting the full-court press to “running plays, which is a lot more fun than just drilling.”