Huskies heading to ‘Pur-who?’

By David Lance

The signs brought by the Huskie faithful started cropping up with 40 seconds left in the second half of NIU’s women’s basketball game versus Louisiana Tech University Wednesday.

One said “Pur-who?” and another read “We want Purdue.” The

Purdue Boilermakers would be the next opponent for the NIU-LTU winner and the fans’ questioning and demanding of them did not seem rash, as the Huskies were enjoying a five-point lead.

But 40 seconds later the signs were put away; LTU had scrambled to put the game into overtime.

In the end, the fans at Chick Evans Field House went home relieved because NIU outscored LTU 14-8 in OT and won 77-71.

“I complement them on winning a very hard-fought game,” LTU head coach Leon Barmore said. “A little slogan we have is, ‘Today I gave all I had. What I’ve kept, I’ve lost forever.’ I don’t believe our basketball team kept much. That’s all you can ask a group of kids.”

“This is an extremely big day for our program,” NIU women’s basketball head coach Jane Albright-Dieterle said. “(LTU’s) a very established program and one we have utmost respect for. The thing that I’m most proud of is when (LTU) got back in the game, they never went ahead. We came out in that overtime and we could have folded.

“If you talk about basketball being a game of momentum, it was (LTU’s). We had made some young mistakes, mistakes that we’re going to make because this is the first time these kids have been in the NCAA. But that overtime came, Angie (Lockett) hit that bucket, Cindy (Conner) hit the bucket and it was like … we’re going, we’re going to keep playing, we’re not ready to quit.”

The Huskies are able to keep playing because of the production of their big people. Lockett, a forward, scored a team-high 22 points while hitting 10 of 17 from the field. Center Dianna Wingis had 20 points while hitting 8 of 12 field goals. She grabbed nine rebounds, three offensive.

“I had good shots,” Wingis said. “I think the passing inside was really good. I worked a little bit harder on the offensive boards. We’ve been working on that in practice in every drill we do. I think that’s why we’re doing so well now. We’re rebounding as a team. It’s just helping us in every aspect of our game.”