Huskies slow it down in dropping Loyola

By Dan Moran

assistant sports editor

Could it be that just winning is not enough for Jane Albright?

“I wasn’t pleased with our effort tonight,” Albright said after her NIU women’s basketball team beat Loyola 82-69 in front of 196 fans in Chick Evans Field House Thursday. “I wasn’t real pleased with our intensity. We can’t play as hard as we did against Notre Dame the other night then come out here and play the way we did.

“I expect our team to play every game like it’s the last game in their lives.”

If the Huskies were not as hungry against Loyola as they were in Tuesday night’s win over Notre Dame, it made no difference—the Lady Ramblers had no appetite.

The game started with the two squads trading baskets, with five ties in the first eight minutes. But NIU took an 18-17 lead at the 10:47 mark and led the rest of the way. Loyola, who beat NIU by 38 a year ago, never seemed to establish itself on either end of the court.

Senior forward Shelly Roberts, who notched her second stellar showing in as many games, said one key to the win was NIU’s performance inside.

“One of our main goals coming in was to box them out,” said Roberts, who racked up 20 points on 10 of 14 shooting. “We did have a little more hieght than they did.”

oberts agreed with Albright in saying the Huskies were not as up for the Ramblers as they were for Notre Dame. But the Huskie co-captain said the team’s general intensity is still turned up.

“I really prepared myself for this game,” said Roberts. “We’re all practicing with more intensity. We know what it feels like now to win, and we’re doing things we didn’t do before. Like in the locker room, we’re talking specifics now, instead of just saying, ‘Let’s go.’ We’re pointing out what we need to do.”

One of those locker room talks did produce positive results. After Rambler guard Sharon Carr scored 10 first-half points, Albright had her troops concentrate on shutting Carr down in the second half. Carr finished with 12 points.

“That’s the second game in a row we held their leading scorer to two points after halftime,” said Albright. Notre Dame’s Heidi Bunek opened with 13 Tuesday night and notched two in the second frame.

Contributions from the Huskie bench were considerable. Albright said she “felt like we needed someone to be a sparkplug,” so she inserted supersub forward Marge Zyk and guards Nikki Dallas, Toby Meeks and Kris Weis at various points in the contest.

The results were impressive. The quartet scored 18 points between them. Zyk notched six points and added six rebounds. Weis led the team for the night with three steals during her tour of duty.

NIU outshot Loyola 48 percent to 44 from the field, but Albright chose to highlight the Huskies’ 1.000 free-throw average on modest eight of eight shooting.

“We were perfect from the line. How many times can a coach say that?” said Albright, who next takes her troops to Milwaukee Saturday to battle Marquette. If the Huskies win, it should be enough for Albright.