Huskies conditioned to go the distance

By Todd McMahon

To quote Napoleon Hill, “One of the most important principles of success is developing the habit of going the extra mile.”

Based on the mood at Wednesday’s NIU Women’s Basketball Media Luncheon, there’s no question that Jane Albright-Dieterle’s team will settle for nothing less than taking that additional step to succeed.

“This is something I’ve been talking to my team a whole lot,” said Albright-Dieterle, in reference to Hill’s immortal words.

The gathering assembled at Chick Evans Field House’s Hall of game Room received a copy of the quote with the NIU athletic symbol of the Huskie dog on the reverse side.

“If you’re going the extra mile, you’re like that dog running the extra mile,” Albright-Dieterle continued, “(and) Jonelle (assistant coach Polk) has had them running.”

The Huskies have been running so much that Albright-Dieterl said her group of 13 (sans potential redshirt Angela Lockett) is “the best physical group of people we have ever put together here. …

“I’m not going to say we’re better than we’ve ever been. We’re quicker than we’ve ever been. We’re faster and we’re bigger, and there’s more of us. I have no idea what to do with 13 people at practice.”

Although NIU is destined to lose Lockett, last year’s top rebounder, for the year when she undergoes arthroscopic surgery next week, the Huskies will have the luxury to go to a deep bench this season.

As Albright-Dieterle pointed out, if point guard E.C. Hill is having an “off night,” she can turn to senior Julie Gainer and freshman Chelsea Schwankl to fill the void.

To counter the absence of Lockett in the middle, the ninth-year Huskie boss can rely on seniors Dianna Wingis and Tiana Burkholder, an improved Soyini Chism, 6-2 junior college transfer Caryn Alexander and freshmen Dana Lau and Charmonique Stallworth.

“We have changed some of our offenses,” Albright-Dieterle said. “We’re going to do some things I didn’t think we had the potential to do before.”