Huskies blowout WIU

By Todd McMahon

Just as NIU’s women’s basketball team was ready to put to rest the headache it received last Tuesday at Iowa, on came another migraine—only this time, it was of the Huskies’ own doing.

Cindy Conner caught an elbow from teammate Leslie Pottinger toward the end of the first half, but by that time, the visiting Westerwinds of Western Illinois had already received their black eye in NIU’s 95-75 Mid-Continent Conference victory Thursday night.

Just before Lori Haskett went in for a layup to cut NIU’s commanding lead to 36-23 with 3:23 remaining until dribbling wizard Tanya Crevier wowed the Chick Evans Field House crowd of 2,129, Conner stumbled to the floor after Pottinger’s accidental hit above the senior’s left brow.

Conner, who had scored seven points at the time, promptly took a trip to the trainer’s room and received six stitches.

No worry as the Huskies (11-3 overall, 6-0 in the Mid-Con) responded with seven straight points in the next two points and went to the locker room with a 46-27 advantage after E.C. Hill’s 25-foot bomb at the buzzer.

Although the Westerwinds (2-13, 0-7) made a late run to get within 16, it was Pottinger and the return of Conner at the 15:08 mark of the second half that provided the ‘extra-pain relief’ the Huskies surely needed.

Two Pottinger baskets to start the final 20 minutes and two more from Conner—one from three-point land—helped NIU open a 67-39 bulge with 12:30 left.

Hill led the Huskies, who committed a season-low 10 turnovers, with 24 points and a career-high nine assists. Pottinger tied her career high of 16 points, while Conner tallied another double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

NIU also received needed support from frontline players Dianna Wingis (12 points, eight rebounds) and Tiana Burkholder (eight points, four rebounds).

WIU was led by the trio of Heidi Butz (16 points), Gayle Tate (15 points, 11 rebouns) and Susan Edwards (15 points).

“I’m real proud of the team,” said Huskie boss Jane Albright-Dieterle. “It’s a much bigger win in my mind than it looks like it was.”

NIU looks to improve on its perfect Mid-Con record when it entertains Wright State at 2 p.m. Saturday.