Nov. 18, 1997
Northwestern Travels to Connecticut
Thur., Nov. 20, 1997 - 7:30 p.m. CST
Preseason NIT Semifinals
The Northwestern Wildcats travel to Storrs, Conn., for the semifinal and final rounds of the Preseason Women's NIT on Thursday and Friday. NU has defeated Southern Illinois and Clemson in the first two rounds of the tournament. Both of those contests were held in Evanston. The NU/UConn winner faces the winner of the Nebraska/Western Kentucky game in Friday's championship game, while the two losing teams will square off in the third place game.
Following the conclusion of the NIT, the Wildcats return home to play Marquette on Sunday before hitting the road to play at Western Kentucky on Tue., Nov. 25. It is possible that Northwestern and Western Kentucky could end up playing each other twice in the span of four days. Recaps of the SIU and CU games can be found on page four.
Women's Preseason NIT Radio/TV Schedule
Thur., Nov. 20 - Semifinals vs. #6 Connecticut - 8:30 p.m. EST
TV - Connecticut Public Television. Satellite coordinates are unavailable, so NU fans outside the state of Connecticut can "scan the skies" in the hope the game can be found.
Radio - WNUR 89.3 FM is currently making plans to travel to Storrs and broadcast the game. Exact plans are still tentative, so fans in the Chicago area should tune in WNUR at gametime. UConn's radio network can be heard via Audio Net over the world wide web. The address is http://drew.audionet.com/schools/uconn/
Fri., Nov. 21 - Finals or consolation game vs. #16 Western Kentucky or #21 Nebraska
6 p.m. EST (consolation) or 8:30 p.m. EST (finals)
TV - The championship game will be broadcast live on ESPN2. The consolation game will not be televised.
Radio - If WNUR travels to Storrs, they will broadcast Friday's game. If not, both Nebraska and Western Kentucky radio networks also can be heard via the web. If the Wildcats play Nebraska, the address is
If the Wildcats play Western Kentucky, the address is
Please note: Radio/TV information is as of Tue., Nov. 19, and is subject to change.
Wildcat Probable Starters
Pos. Name (height, class, hometown) ppg rpg apg
F #35 Kristina Divjak (6-0, Jr., Dyer, Ind.) 26.5 4.5 2.5
F #33 Anne Giblin (6-0, Jr., Upper Montclair, NJ) 7.0 2.0 0.5
C #54 Mary Connolly (6-3, Sr (5)., Chicago, Ill.) 3.5 7.5 1.5
G #20 Amber DeWall (5-9, Sr., St. Louis Park, Minn.) 13.0 8.5 7.5
G #24 Megan Chawansky (5-11, Jr., Avon Lake, Ohio) 14.5 5.0 4.0
Off the bench
C #3 Becky Fisher (6-4, Fr., Des Moines, Iowa) 0.0 0.0 0.0
G #5 Dana Leonard (5-6, Fr., Glenview, Ill.) 3.0 0.5 0.0
G #11 Lisa Byington (5-6, Sr., Portage, Mich.) 0.0 0.0 0.0
F #21 Leslie Schock (6-0, So., Elgin, Ill.) 6.5 1.5 1.0
G #22 Clarissa Flores (5-8, Fr., Chicago, Ill.) 0.0 0.0 0.0
G/F #32 Candace Wrenn (5-9, Sr., Austin, Texas) 0.0 0.0 0.0
C #52 Leah Berki (6-1, So., Willowbrook, Ill.) 2.5 4.0 0.5
Record vs. Opponents: This will be the first time NU and Connecticut have faced each other. The Wildcats also have never played Western Kentucky.
Nebraska holds a 2-1 lead in the series over Northwestern. The Huskers won in Lincoln in 1980 (54-64) while Northwest-ern's win came in Evanston in 1982 (89-64). The Huskers won the last meeting in Evanston on Dec. 5, 1992 (83-71).
Head Coach Don Perrelli: Don Perrelli (Southern Connecticut State, 1961) enters his 14th season at the helm of the Wildcats and 22nd as a collegiate head coach. He has compiled a 406-214 overall mark and a 231-144 record with the Wildcats. NU has advanced to postseason six times during Perrelli's tenure.
Preseason Honors: Here's the preseason accolades garnered by the Wildcats:
Women's Basketball News Service
National Ranking - No. 20
Megan Chawansky - Second-team All-American
Kristina Divjak - Third-team All-American
Street and Smith's
Kristina Divjak - Honorable mention All-American
National Ranking - "Best of the Rest"
The Sporting News
Kristina Divjak - "Best Shooter in the Big Ten"
Windy City Bombers: Northwestern's strength over the past few years has been from the perimeter, and this year is no different. NU is shooting 46 percent from the field this year both overall and from three-point range. The Wildcats have hit 11 threes in this season's first two games, seven by junior forward Kristina Divjak.
Last year, the Wildcats led the country in three-point field goals made per game, averaging 7.2 per contest (202 in 28 games). The 'Cats finished second in the NCAA in three-point percentage at 40.9 percent (202-for-494), just behind Buffalo's 41.2 percent (200-for-485). Divjak finished fifth in the country in three-point percentage (.442) and 11th in the country in three-pointers made per game last year (2.9, 80 in 28 games).
Divjak From Downtown: Preseason All-American forward Kristina Divjak is one of the best pure shooters in the country. This year, she was named "The Best Shooter in the Big Ten" by The Sporting News.
In the season's first two games, Divjak has scored 23 and 30 points, respectively. Oddly enough, her shooting percentage from three-point range (47 percent) is better than her overall shooting percentage (43 percent). Following the Clemson game, Lady Tiger head coach Jim Davis said "Divjak is something special. We knew she was a good shooter, but I was more impressed by her movement without the ball."
Divjak is the top returning player in the Big Ten this season in four major offensive categories: scoring, three pointers made, three-point percentage and free throw percentage.
Megan Chawansky - The Total Package: Preseason All-American guard Megan Chawansky may not be flashy, but she definitely has one of the most well-rounded games in the Big Ten.
Last year, Chawansky was one of only two players in the Big Ten to average 15.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.7 steals per game. The other was Illinois' Ashley Berggren, who was named Big Ten Player of the Year. Chawansky is averaging 14.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.0 steals in the two games, thus far, and has hit 61 percent (11-of-18) from the field.
DeWall Stepping Up: Senior point guard Amber DeWall has improved her overall play since last season, and is displaying incredible leadership on the floor. Against SIU, she scored a career-best 15 points and currently is NU's leading rebounder with 17 over the two games.
DeWall finished last season ranked 11th in the NCAA assist rankings with an average of 6.6 assists per game. She set a new career-high with 12 assists at Minnesota on Jan. 19 - also a Minnesota Sports Pavilion record.
Last year, DeWall dished 185 assists while only committing 85 turnovers, a 2.2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio while playing an average of 36 minutes per game. This year, she has 15 assists with just five turnovers in 33 minutes per game.
The Charity Stripe: A big key to the Wildcats' success is at the free throw line. NU finished fourth in the NCAA last year in free throw percentage at .748 (549-of-734). The 'Cats drained 549 shots while opponents combined to hit just 268 free throws in 411 attempts.
This year, NU has hit 34-of-52 free throws while SIU and Clemson combined for just 15-of-27.
National Rankings: Here's where the Wildcats ranked among the NCAA leaders last season (returning players in italics):
Scoring: Kristina Divjak t46th 18.9 ppg
FT Pct.: Kristina Divjak 28th 83.0 pct.
Assists: Amber DeWall 11th 6.6 apg
3 pt. FG Pct.: Kristina Divjak 5th 44.2 pct.
3 pt. FG made: Kristina Divjak 11th 2.9 tpg
3 pt. FG made: 1st 7.2 tpg
3 pt. FG pct.: 2nd 40.9 pct.
FT Pct.: 4th 74.8 pct.
Scoring: 17th 78.3 ppg
Smart 'Cats: The Wildcats earned the 14th-highest grade point average last year among all NCAA Division I women's basketball programs. Northwestern was the only Big Ten Conference school ranked among the top 25 academic teams in the country with a team GPA of 3.267.
The Wildcats were one of six teams from last year's NCAA tournament to make the WBCA Academic Honor Roll. The other five NCAA tournament teams to make the WBCA honor roll were Oregon (fourth), Toledo (fifth), Maine (seventh), Kansas State (eighth) and Harvard (15th).
Winningest Program in the Big Ten: Northwestern has averaged more wins per season than any other team in the Big Ten Conference. In their 22 previous seasons, the 'Cats had 394 wins, an average of 17.9 wins per year.
Most Wins (Years) Most Wins Per Year
Ohio State, 543 (32) Northwestern (17.9)
Penn State, 523 (33) Iowa (17.3)
Indiana, 412 (26) Ohio State (16.9)
Iowa, 399 (23) Purdue (15.9)
Northwestern, 394 (22) Penn State (15.8)
Fri., Jan. 16 vs. Wisconsin - Pack the Place Night
7 p.m. tipoff - A new attendance record could be set when the 'Cats take on the Badgers. All seats for this game (reserved and general admission) are just $1.
Fri., Feb. 6 vs. Ohio State - Take a Girl to the Game Day
7:30 p.m. tipoff - All kids will be admitted free for this game as, for the third-straight year, Northwestern takes part in National Take a Girl to the Game Day. Last year, 75 college campuses and more than 250,000 people took part nationwide.
A Record Setting Year: Last year's Wildcats set or tied nine individual records while seven team records fell. Among the new team records was three-point field goals in a season. NU's 202 treys is not only a school mark, but a Big Ten record as well. The team also set new marks for three pointers made in a game (13), three pointers attempted in a game (28) and season (494), most free throws made in a game (32) and best free throw percentage in a game (.941) and season (.748).
NU Breaks All-Time Attendance Records: The Wildcats set new school records in attendance last year as a total of 17,672 fans attended games in Welsh-Ryan Arena during the 1996-97 season. The previous record was 17,637, set last season. More importantly, the 'Cats broke the record with fewer home games. NU had 14 games in Welsh-Ryan Arena in 1995-96, but just 12 last season.
A new record for average attendance also was set last year, with an average of 1,473 per game. This easily outdistances the old mark of 1,260 set during the 1995-96 campaign.
Wildcats' women's basketball attendance in the 1990s continues to rise. Check out the following comparison:
Year Attend. Avg. crowds Dates
1991-92 11,073 791 2 14
1992-93 15,194 1,169 10 13
1993-94 14,435 1,031 7 14
1994-95 15,269 1,175 7 13
1995-96 17,637 1,260 8 14
1996-97 17,672 1,473 9 12