Turnout disappointing

By David Lance

Whenever NIU and DePaul get together, strange things happen.

A coach may give money to the opposing team’s band, like DePaul’s women’s basketball head coach Doug Bruno did before tipoff at last season’s game at Chick Evans Field House.

Or, an NIU coach may give Bruno a basketball, like NIU head coach Jane Albright-Dieterle did earlier this season.

With those abnormalities, one aspect of this rivalry remained constant: the big crowd.

Tuesday night’s game at the fieldhouse, won 75-66 by DePaul, was an exception—only 1,991 people attended.

“I think that people in the community obviously like a winning team better than they like a team that doesn’t win,” Albright-Dieterle said. “When you’re 10 and 7, I think it’s a lot different than when they’ve been coming in the years past, when we were winning.

“And then second, I don’t think we promoted the game. The year we sold the place out (1990) … I think our athletic department tried real hard to make that an event. And I think it was just not really talked about this year. That was a puzzle to me why that happened.”

Bruno was baffled by the low turnout, too.

“I can’t explain that,” Bruno said. “I just try to deal with what’s here.”

Albright-Dieterle said she was disappointed in the student support.

“The year we sold it out, we had those 3,000 students,” Albright-Dieterle said. “There were flyers (at) the dorms. It was a big deal.

“I don’t think it was made to be an event like it has been in years past. It always has been an event. It was obviously, in somebody’s eyes, just another game tonight.”