Women rout WSU; men win too

By Todd McMahon

The NIU women’s basketball team simply stole the fun from Wright State in record-breaking fashion Saturday.

The Huskies (13-9, 7-2 in the North Star Conference) turned the Raiders in every possible direction while registering a school-record 37 steals and cruised to a 103-54 rout before 1,702 at Chick Evans Field House.

E.C. Hill and her larcenous teammates forced Wright State (7-16, 4-5) into turning the ball over an amazing 50 times—27 coming in the first half.

Hill finished with a career-high eight steals, while the trio of Cindy Conner, Dee Dee Jeske and Julie Gainer each had five thefts. For Gainer, it marked a career high.

NIU’s defense also forced Wright State into shooting a season low for a Huskies opponent (14-50, .280), including 5-of-22 accuracy (.227) in the first half.

“We got a lot of production from setting the single-game record,” NIU head coach Jane Albright-Dieterle said. “We were able to capitalize on a lot of those (steals) and get some points.

“If you can force any team in America into 50 turnovers, you’re playing a very good defensive system. E.C. Hill spearheaded that … I think you saw the E.C. we’ve been talking about the last three or four games.”

Hill finished with 16 points and seven assists, including 10 points in the opening half as the Huskies raced out to a 46-19 halftime lead.

Jeske was 9-of-12 from the floor and scored a game-high 21 points. Conner increased her double-figure scoring streak to 22 games with 19 points, and after being held scoreless in the first half, Angela Lockett finished with 13 points and a team-high seven rebounds.

The Huskies shot .518 (43-of-83) from the floor as everyone on the roster played at least five minutes to get in on the fun.

“Playing Wisconsin-Green Bay and Northern Illinois (consecutively) is not my idea of a real fun time,” said Raiders’ head coach Terry Hall, whose team fell to the Phoenix two nights earlier.

“The team is mad,” Albright-Dieterle said. “I hope we’re mad again on Tuesday when we go to Valparaiso.”