Speed bumps not necessary for NIU

By Todd McMahon

Let ‘em run.

Wednesday night, NIU’s women’s basketball team was running a week’s worth of ‘suicides.’ But it had nothing to do with an uneventful practice.

Rather, the Huskies were treated to a dose of the go-at-your-own-risk international game, which closely resembles America’s ‘street ball.’

So, with pavement whiz kids Cindy Conner and E.C. Hill directing the traffic at Evans Field House, the Huskies ran circles right around Czechoslovakia’s Slovan Bratislava troupe and used the cruise control in the waning minutes for an 88-72 triumph.

Conner had the high beams on in the opening 20 minutes as she scored 17 points on 6-of-13 shooting, including three bombs beyond the three-point arc.

Meanwhile, copilot Hill blazed the floor in the second half from hoop-to-hoop as she dropped in nine baskets in 12 tries for 20 points to offset a dismal first half.

The driving conditions were so clear for Hill that she scored a mere eight points in a span of 1:35 early in the final period—two buckets coming on driving lay-ins, one on a nifty spin move in the paint and another off her own steal.

“E.C. had a very nice second half,” NIU head coach Jane Albright-Dieterle said. “Her defense (three steals) was very good and that really sparked us.”

Although the Huskies weren’t on a full tank of gas when it came time to defend the Czechs’ offense off the break, they were running on all cylinders in their half-court prevent.

NIU came up with 16 steals and forced 28 Slovan turnovers.

More importantly, the defensive effort, along with the offensive, was ignited by all 13 Huskie sparkplugs, who each received her share of motoring up and down the fieldhouse.

11 players cracked the scoring column, including Chelsea Schwankl and Charmonique Stallworth, who made their NIU debuts. 10 Huskies also received playing time of at least 10 minutes.

“We really got a lot of different combinations looking like one,” Albright-Dieterle said.

“There was a real good chemistry,” she added. “They came in and went out a lot.”