Nov. 24, 1997
Preseason All-American guard Megan Chawansky has the total basketball package. (file photo)
Wildcats to Battle Western Kentucky
NU Looks to End Three Game Skid
Northwestern Wildcats (2-3) at Western Kentucky Lady Toppers (3-1)
Nov. 25, 1997 - 7 p.m. CST
The Northwestern Wildcats play their fourth game in six days as the 'Cats travel to Western Kentucky. NU has dropped three straight after winning the first two games of the season. Northwestern dropped an 81-70 decision on Sunday to Marquette. Kristina Divjak led NU with 22 points, the third time in five games she has topped the 20-point mark. A complete game-by-game recap of Northwestern's games thus far are on page four of today's game notes.
Record vs. Western Kentucky
After the two schools had never met in either team's history, Northwestern and Western Kentucky face off for the second time in five days. WKU won 88-83 at Storrs, Conn., last Friday in the third-place game of the Preseason NIT. The Lady Toppers therefore lead the series, 1-0.
Wildcat Probable Starters
Pos. Name (height, class, hometown) ppg rpg apg
F #35 Kristina Divjak (6-0, Jr., Dyer, Ind.) 22.0 4.0 1.4
F #33 Anne Giblin (6-0, Jr., Upper Montclair, NJ) 6.4 3.2 0.8
C #54 Mary Connolly (6-3, Sr (5)., Chicago, Ill.) 4.4 4.8 0.8
G #20 Amber DeWall (5-9, Sr., St. Louis Park, Minn.) 11.6 6.4 6.8
G #24 Megan Chawansky (5-11, Jr., Avon Lake, Ohio) 13.8 4.6 3.8
Off the bench
C #3 Becky Fisher (6-4, Fr., Des Moines, Iowa) 0.5 0.0 0.0
G #5 Dana Leonard (5-6, Fr., Glenview, Ill.) 1.8 0.2 0.0
G #11 Lisa Byington (5-6, Sr., Portage, Mich.) 1.0 0.0 0.0
F #20 Chala Holland (6-1, Fr., Ardmore, Pa.) 0.0 0.0 0.0
F #21 Leslie Schock (6-0, So., Elgin, Ill.) 5.6 2.2 0.8
G #22 Clarissa Flores (5-8, Fr., Chicago, Ill.) 6.0 2.0 0.8
G/F #32 Candace Wrenn (5-9, Sr., Austin, Texas) 0.0 0.5 0.0
C #52 Leah Berki (6-1, So., Willowbrook, Ill.) 2.4 3.8 0.4
Head Coach Don Perrelli
Don Perrelli (Southern Connecticut State, 1961) is in his 14th season at the helm of the Wildcats and 22nd as a collegiate head coach. He has compiled a 406-217 overall mark and a 231-147 record with the Wildcats. NU has advanced to postseason six times during Perrelli's tenure.
Divjak Named to NIT All-Tournament Team
Forward Kristina Divjak was named to the all-tournament team at the Preseason NIT. In NU's four contests, Divjak averaged 22.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. In addition, she averaged 2.5 three pointers made per game. Divjak led all players in scoring during the tournament with 88 points. UConn All-American Nykesha Sales had 86 points, followed by Nebraska's Anna DeForge with 80 points.
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.
Divjak has led the 'Cats in scoring all five games this season, including a season-high 30 points against Clemson. She is averaging 22.0 points per game despite struggling from three-point range. Clemson Lady Tiger head coach Jim Davis said following NU's 70-66 win in the NIT: "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. Here's Megan's game-by-game stats this season:
Opponent Pts. Reb. Asst. Stl.
Southern Illinois 14 4 5 1
Clemson 15 6 3 1
Connecticut 14 1 2 2
Western Kentucky 16 3 3 1
Marquette 10 9 6 1
DeWall Stepping Up
Senior point guard Amber DeWall has improved her overall play since last season, and is displaying incredible leadership on the floor. She currently is NU's leading rebounder with 6.4 per game. Her 15 points in the win over Southern Illinois was a career-best.
DeWall is currently averaging 6.8 assists per game on the season. She finished 11th in the NCAA last season at 6.6 assists per contest. DeWall's 34 assists during the Preseason NIT give her 370 career assists, moving into seventh place on the all-time NU assist chart. Kelly Cole is in sixth with 376 career assists.
All-Time NU Record Book Watch
Career Points Career Assists
14. Moira Kennelly (1,064) 5. Joanne Palombo (378)
Kristina Divjak (984) 6. Kelly Cole (376)
Megan Chawansky (890) 7. Amber DeWall (370)
Career Three-Pointers Made Career Three-Point Attempts
2. Moira Kennelly (173) 2. Moira Kennelly (454)
3. Kristina Divjak (142) 3. Kristina Divjak (337)
5. Megan Chawansky (73) 5. Megan Chawansky (201)
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.
Here's the preseason accolades garnered by the Wildcats:
Women's Basketball News Service
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"
WNUR Radio - The Official Carrier of NU Women's Hoops
21 games are currently scheduled to be broadcast this season by WNUR 89.3 FM, the Northwestern student-operated station. The remaining schedule is as follows: Dec. 5 (Eastern Illinois), Dec. 6 (Roger L. White Tourney), Dec. 16 (at Southwest Texas State), Dec. 18 (at Texas), Jan. 7 (at Loyola-Chicago), Jan. 9 (at Iowa), Jan. 13 (Purdue), Jan. 16 (Wisconsin), Jan. 18 (Minnesota), Jan. 23 (at Illinois), Jan. 30 (Penn State), Feb. 1 (at Wisconsin), Feb. 6 (Ohio State), Feb. 8 (Iowa), Feb. 10 (DePaul), Feb. 13 (Indiana), Feb. 15 (at Michigan), Feb. 20 (at Purdue), Feb. 27-March 2 (at Big Ten Tournament).
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