With a win well secured, NIU head coach Jane Albright-Dieterle used most of the second half of Monday’s 101-67 pummelling of North Star Conference opponent Akron as play time for the second and third stringers.
With a couple of minutes left in the game, the only matter left undecided was if the Huskies could score 100 points.
To the rescue came freshman Jenny Sullivan—playing in her first home game—who entered the game with three minutes left.
“I was pretty nervous,” Sullivan said. “Everybody’s been pulling for me. They said sooner or later I’d get in. I was really excited.”
Sullivan scored NIU’s 100 and 101 points on a layup of a rebound as time expired and a mid-court celebration ensued.
Nothing like conference play to turn the Huskies around.
After a 4-5 start, the Huskies have won their last two games, both against conference foes. The Huskies have won 26 of their last 28 regular-season conference games.
But the Huskies go out of their conference to contest Southern Illinois at 7 p.m. at Chick Evans Field House. The Salukis enter the game 8-3, with a Dec. 20 win over No. 8 N.C. State and two straight wins under their belts.
Angie Rougeau leads the Salukis in scoring, averaging 13.6 points a game, while Kelly Firth leads them in rebounding, pulling down 8.3 a game.
But the most heralded of the Salukis is point guard Anita Scott, a member of last year’s U.S. Sports Festival team. Scott is averaging 12.5 points, 4.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.4 steals a game. She leads the team in field-goal shooting at 50 percent.
“I think she’s a defensive specialist who really quarterbacks their team, also,” Albright-Dieterle said.
“I think (SIU’s) always very fundamentally sound. Cindy Scott is an excellent (head) coach. She always has the team prepared. They win a lot of big games every year and are always contenders to go to the NCAA tournament.
“They’ve got an inside-outside game. They’ve got a very nice transition (game). They’ve got a lot of firepower.”
Albright-Dieterle doesn’t think her team will be sluggish tonight, despite playing two games in three days.
“It’s that time of year,” she said. “You have to play. To be honest with you, I’m sure the players would rather play than practice. We got a lot of people playing time (Monday), so we shouldn’t be tired.”