Record books indicate that tourney should be a doozer

By Todd McMahon

A little history lesson before the North Star Conference Tournament convenes on Thursday …

First, this is it for the NSC, or the “Final Edition” as this year’s tourney is called. After nine years as one of the country’s top women’s conferences, the league will merge with the Mid-Continent Conference next season.

Second, this will be the conference’s fourth postseason extravaganza. Former league member DePaul won two of the previous three titles, including last year’s 100-85 win over Valparaiso at Green Bay, Wis.

NIU defeated the Blue Demons two years ago at Chick Evans Field House for the title and received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Third, the tournament champion will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament for the second-straight year. Of course, DePaul represented the NSC last year.

As the seven teams prepare for the three-day event, it’s not a lock that regular-season champion Wisconsin-Green Bay will come into DeKalb and breeze through the tourney.

Just last year, the Phoenix, who were the No. 1-seed and on their home court, suffered a 72-69 defeat to fourth-seed Valparaiso. That same night, second-seed NIU lost to third-seed DePaul, 91-84.

“There’s a lot more parity than ever before in this league,” NIU Head Coach Jane Albright-Dieterle said. “The games could be very interesting this year.”