NORTHERN ILLINOIS WOMENS
BASKETBALL HEADS TO ITALY AND FIVE-GAME EXHIBITION SCHEDULE
--- Arrivederci, America. Buon giorno, Italia.
That is exactly
the historic journey that the Northern Illinois University womens
basketball team makes later this month---becoming the first Huskie
cage team, male or female---to play overseas during an 11-day trip
to Europe with major stops in Paris, Venice, and Rome. Break out
those English-Italian dictionaries, ladies.
Now, the NIU
women will not just be turista on this May 16-26 sojourn. You can
bet your cannoli on that.
of our players, its a once in a lifetime opportunity and something
they will remember the rest of their lives, said Huskie head
womens basketball coach Carol Hammerle who has been
wanting to do such a tour since her arrival in DeKalb in 1998. At
Wisconsin-Green Bay, Hammerle took Phoenix quintets to France and
is a high correlation between teams traveling and playing in foreign
countries and post-season competition, Hammerle added. Schools
have toured in the summer and those same teams have qualified for
post-season competition. Theres no question such a trip can
be a bonding experience and, obviously, extremely educational. In
recent years, both Miami (OH) and Eastern Michigan toured overseas
and then made post-season play.
line is that it will really give us an edge in October when pre-season
practice starts, Hammerle added. Weve already
put in a new offense and a new secondary. Our No. 1 goal is to make
sure this is a good, educational experience for the student-athletes.
Second, we want every player to get as much playing time as possible.
Third, we can use these exhibitions and extra practices to experiment
with some new things.
wouldnt like eight extra National Collegiate Athletic Association
practices and five exhibitions against top-notch Italian club quintets?
When asked, Hammerle said that the international competition rated
as WNBA-level. Sanctioned by the NCAA and authorized by the NIU
Athletics Board, the trip was financed through donations from local
boosters---i.e., the Hoop Troop---and the annual Northern Illinois
Fore Hoops womens basketball summer golf outing.
The travel arrangements and Huskie exhibition contests were scheduled
by Sports Tours International, Inc., of Milwaukee, WI.
reception for the NIU womens basketball team---featuring DeKalb
Mayor Greg Sparrow---is scheduled for 6 p.m. (CDT) on Friday
(May 14) at Starbusters, 930 Pappas Drive, in DeKalb.
Illinois Italy exhibition schedule: Tuesday (May 18) vs. Venice,
5:30 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. in Italy, Wednesday (May 19) vs. Alessandria,
9 p.m., Thursday (May 20) vs. Broni, 9 p.m., Saturday (May 22) vs.
La Spezia, and Sunday (May 23) vs. Pontedera, 9 p.m. The 28-person
traveling party will depart Chicago OHare International this
Sunday (May 16) and return on May 26. Game updates will be posted
on the NIU athletics website <www.niuhuskies.com>.
playing roster for the Italy trip includes frosh guard Mary Basic
(Lemont / Chicago Heights Marian Catholic), senior guard Monique
Davis (Columbus, OH / Marion-Franklin), frosh guard Stephanie
Raymond (Rockford / Lutheran), soph forward Joi Scott (Reynoldsburg,
OH), senior forward Lindsay Secrest (Bloomfield, IN), junior
guard Rachel Sillar (Plainfield), senior guard Stephanie
Smith (Huntley / Hampshire), soph center Jennifer Uptmor
(Centerville, OH), junior guard Alyssa Verdegan (Glen Flora,
WI / Flambeau), frosh center Kristin Weiner (Apple Valley,
MN / Academy of Holy Angels), soph guard Keishonda Williamson
(Detroit, MI / Martin Luther King), soph forward Jamie Wilson
(Reynoldsburg, OH), and senior forward Jennifer Youngblood
(Rock Island). Hammerle plans on playing the returning 2004-05 players
the most. Three former Northern Illinois players on the trip include
forward Kim Boeding (Fort Madison, IA), guard Kristan
Knake (Marengo), and center Elizabeth Strobel (Merrill,
NIU womens basketball had left the contiguous United States
with trips to Hawaii (Hawaii Paradise Classic in 1993-94 and Asahi
Rainbow Wahine Classic in 2000-01), plus Alaska (Northern Lights
Invitational in 1990-91 and Mt. McKinley Bank North Star Invitational
in 2001-02). The Northern Illinois mens basketball team participated
at the Surf N Slam Invitational in Hawaii this past winter
for its first journey off the U. S. mainland.
information, please contact Mike Korcek) -NIU-