Unanimous decision: NIU, 102-84

By David Lance

Valparaiso came to Chick Evans Field House Tuesday night complete with its schizophrenic, high-scoring offense.

The Lady Crusaders expected the Huskies to try to run with them, consequently, they thought, playing into their hands. But after the game, Valparaiso was the team left panting.

“It’s a long season,” Valparaiso’s women’s basketball head coach Dave Wolter said after the game. “This is just one round.”

If NIU’s 102-84 victory over Valparaiso was a fight, as Wolter suggests, it would have been ruled a technical knockout. The Huskies pulled away from Valparaiso behind the play of their bench and Angela Lockett—facts that most impressed NIU head coach Jane Albright-Dieterle.

“They (NIU bench) very much responded,” Albright-Dieterle said. “(Lockett) had eight offensive rebounds. Probably on seven of those she scored.”

Lockett led NIU (9-5, 4-0) with 31 points, a career high. “It makes me feel good to know that I can score,” Lockett said. “I’ve got a lot more confidence.”

E.C. Hill came off the bench to score 11 points. Tiana Burkholder, also a non-starter, contributed seven points. Starting center Dianna Wingis recorded a game-high 14 rebounds.

NIU’s biggest lead of the first half was 10 points. With 15 minutes left in the half, Cindy Conner scored two of her 19 points, putting NIU up 16-6. With the help of three-point ace Lynda Kukla and game-high scorer Debbie Bolen (35 points), Valparaiso cut the lead down to four with 1:33 left until intermission. A three-pointer by Valparaiso’s Shari Toelke with 47.9 left put the Huskies up 46-43 at the half.

“I never thought we let up,” Albright-Dieterle said. “Valpo’s a very pesky team. I don’t think we’re ever safe against them.”

The Huskies stayed in front of Valparaiso the entire second half, but two Bolen free throws at 11:40 made the score 65-62. With the score 81-75 at 5:23, Lockett hit two free throws.

The Huskies stopped Valparaiso and Conner hit a layup, followed a few seconds later by a Lockett bucket, making the score 87-75. Valparaiso called a timeout and the game was finished.