Women’s basketball hopes to feast on Western Illinois

By James Nokes

A homemade meal and a 7 p.m. game against Western Illinois await the NIU women’s basketball team for its first road game of the season tonight.

Off the court, sophomore guard Whitney Lowe, who lives in close proximity to Macomb, will host a dinner.

On the court, NIU (1-1) shoots to end a 40-game home winning streak by WIU (1-0).

“I’m from the Macomb area, and I know they tout a big home court winning streak,” Lowe said. “My goal for our team is to come in there and end that streak. We need to have more confidence in our ball handling skills, run our offense and rely on our defense.”

Junior center Kristin Wiener leads NIU in scoring and rebounding, with 17 and 8.5 per game respectively. Senior center Jennifer Uptmor had a double-double against North Dakota State, and has combined with Wiener to provide a solid post presence.

Sharp-shooting point guard Stephanie Raymond scores 16 points per game and leads the attack on the perimeter. Despite a solid inside-outside game, NIU has turned the ball over 57 times in two games and will look to guards Mary Basic, Jessie Wilcox and Raymond to control the ball better against a team that is tough to beat on their home court.

“This is our first away game and I’m sure there will be some jitters,” NIU head coach Carol Owens said. “WIU is very good at home, we can’t go in thinking about their win streak – what I’m concerned about is that we are getting better every day.”

WIU hasn’t lost a home game since Feb. 9, 2002, and opened its season with a 96-59 romp over NAIA member Hannibal LaGrange College.

Zane Teilane, a 6-foot-7 senior center, scored 26 points and pulled down 15 rebounds against Hannibal and has scored more than 1,000 points in her college career.

Today’s game marks the third game in five nights for NIU.