Countdown to the ball begins…


Chick Evans Field House will be rocking with exciting female action Wednesday night as the women’s basketball team follows the NCAA volleyball tournament action by hosting the University of Southern California.

“It’s going to be a tremendous day for women’s athletics here at NIU,” said head coach Jane Albright-Dieterle. “Hopefully, after the fans see the caliber of our volleyball team, they’ll stay for women’s basketball.”

The USC Women of Troy will make their first appearance ever in DeKalb, and will be facing the Huskies for only the second time. USC beat the Huskies last season 91-64 at the Lyon Center in Los Angeles.

This season, the Women of Troy will be led by a new head coach in Cheryl Miller, who will be making her coaching debut.

Miller is no stranger to the women’s basketball scene. She was a player at USC from 1983 to 1986 and is currently USC’s all-time scoring leader with 3,018 points in her four-year career.

Among her accomplishments in her four years at USC are being named an All-American four straight years, leading the Women of Troy to two NCAA titles and winning a gold medal as a member of the 1984 Olympic team.

“She’s by far one of the best players to ever play the game, men’s or women’s,” said Albright-Dieterle. “She’s one of the legends, and our fans should give her an ovation because she deserves it. I think that if she can coach as good as she played, USC will be a great team.”

USC already is one of the top teams in the country (ranked 13th by AP and 11th by USA Today). They have a very rich tradition in basketball and Albright-Dieterle believes they are the most talented team the Huskies will face this season.

She is also counting on the sixth-man factor, which Miller might not be expecting.

“The most important thing about the home court is the crowd,” she said. “We expect most of our help will come from the fans acting as the sixth man.”