Varied competition awaits Huskie women

By Jeff Kirik

The NIU women’s basketball team might have ended its season against Illinois-Chicago Saturday but that game can also be looked upon as a new beginning.

Jane Albright’s cage squad is one of four NIU women’s teams who will compete in the North Star Conference next school year. The Huskies will compete against the present North Star schools—DePaul, Notre Dame, Dayton, Marquette and Valparaiso—in volleyball, tennis, basketball and softball.

The conference also offers cross country but NIU will not have a representative in that sport. The Huskie field hockey, gymnastics, golf and swimming and diving teams will remain independents.

The NIU women’s basketball team, which finished this season with a 11-16 record, split six games this year against its future conference foes. The Huskies had one win and one loss against both Marquette and Notre Dame, while they defeated Dayton and lost to DePaul.

eading into the final week of North Star action, DePaul leads the conference with a 4-1 record. Notre Dame and Dayton are tied for second at 3-2 while Marquette is at the bottom of the barrel with an 0-5 ledger.

Valparaiso is an associate member of the league this year and did not participate in the conference’s basketball race. However, like NIU, Valparaiso will be a full member of the conference starting in the fall.

In volleyball, Notre Dame claimed the conference title as they won the North Star Volleyball Tournament and posted a 31-6 season record. DePaul finished second, Marquette third, while Dayton and Valparaiso tied for fourth in the tourney.

The 11-21 Huskie spikers beat Marquette while losing to Notre Dame twice last fall. Next season NIU will play each of the conference teams once before participating in the tournament.

The NIU women’s tennis team competed in the 1986 North Star Conference Women’s Tennis Championship and claimed second place. Notre Dame also won that tournament as Marquette, Illinois-Chicago, DePaul, Dayton and Valparaiso rounded out the field in the invitational.

The North Star offers the tournament for its conference crown because it does not require regular season play between the teams. The tournament format will be different next year, though, because it will not be an invitational. Only the six conference teams will compete.

Softball is also a tournament sport in the North Star in which Dayton, DePaul, and Valparaiso presently compete. That tournament also has been an invitational but will be changed when NIU enters. There is also a possibility Notre Dame will add the sport to its athletic program.

NIU will compete as an independent on the diamond this season, although it was invited to this year’s conference tournament. The Huskies will not participate because of a schedule conflict.