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    Dec. 5, 1997

    Women's Basketball Hosts Roger L. White Invitational

    'Cats Take on Eastern Illinois Tonight

  • Northwestern Wildcats (2-5) vs. Eastern Illinois Panthers (2-4)
  • Dec. 5, 1997 - Roger L. White Invitational
  • 7 p.m. CST - WNUR Radio

    The Northwestern Wildcats host the 14th annual Roger L. White Invitational this weekend, featuring NU, Eastern Illinois, St. Bonaventure and Boston University. The 'Cats are happy to be home, after racking up the frequent flier miles lately. After winning their first two games of the season, NU looks to snap a five-game skid Friday night against Eastern Illinois.

    Northwestern dropped a tough 73-70 decision last Saturday at Southwest Missouri State. The 'Cats held SMS without a field goal in the final 5:49, erasing an 11-point deficit to close the gap to one point at 71-70 on a Mary Connolly jumper with 15 seconds left. Kristina Divjak, who scored 29 points for the contest, had a three-pointer rattle out at the buzzer which would have sent the game into overtime. Divjak led NU in scoring with 29 points, while Chawansky had a team-high nine boards.

    Record vs. Opponents
    Northwestern leads the all-time series versus Eastern Illinois, 7-0. The last meeting between the two schools was a 104-57 NU victory on Jan. 4, 1993, in Welsh-Ryan Arena. The only other meeting in the Don Perrelli era was an 81-69 win at EIU on Nov. 28, 1989. The Wildcats have never faced either St. Bonaventure or Boston University.

    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 406-220 overall mark and a 231-149 record with the Wildcats. NU has advanced to postseason six times during Perrelli's tenure.

    Ask Don Perrelli
    As part of a new feature on NUSPORTS.COM, the official web site of the Wildcats, Coach Perrelli will answer questions from fans in "Ask the Wildcats". Questions should be submitted by Dec. 18, and will be posted online shortly thereafter.

    Home Sweet Home
    Today's game marks the 200th Northwestern women's basketball game played in Welsh-Ryan Arena. The Wildcats have a 143-56 record (.719) mark at Welsh-Ryan since it was opened in 1983 as part of a $6.75 million renovation of McGaw Hall.

    Divjak Fourth-Fastest to the Century Mark
    With her 29 points last Saturday at Southwest Missouri State, Kristina Divjak is just the 15th player in school history to record 1,000 career points. She currently has 1,028 points, 36 behind Moira Kennelly.

    Divjak reached the 1,000 career point mark in her 69th career game, the fourth-fastest to do so in school history. Only Michele Savage (57th game), Anucha Browne (61) and Maureen Holohan (65) hit the century mark faster at NU.

    Divjak has led the 'Cats in scoring all seven games this season, including a season-high 30 points against Clemson. She has topped the 20-point mark in four of those seven contests.

    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 from the last five games:

    Opponent           Pts.   Reb.   Asst.   Stl.
    @ Connecticut       14      1       2      2
    Western Kentucky    16      3       3      1
    Marquette           10      9       6      1
    @ W. Kentucky       11      5       3      1
    @ SW Missouri State 14      9       4      1

    DeWall Stepping Up
    Senior point guard Amber DeWall has improved her overall play since last season, currently leading NU with 5.9 rebounds per game and third on the team with 10.6 points per game. Her 15 points in the win over Southern Illinois was a career-best.

    DeWall's 41 assists this season give her 377 career assists, surpassing Kelly Cole for sixth place on the all-time NU assist chart. Joanne Palombo is in fifth with 378 career assists, followed by Connie Erickson in fourth at 448.

    An interesting tidbit, Palombo is now the head women's basketball coach at Maine while Cole, who was an assistant coach the past two years for the Wildcats, is now an assistant coach at Boston College.

    Who Made This Schedule, Anyway?
    The Wildcats' first seven contests could easily rank as one of the toughest in the nation. The combined records last season of NU's first six opponents (Southern Illinois, Clemson, UConn, Western Kentucky, Marquette, Southwest Missouri State) was 126-55 (.696). Four of those six (Clemson, UConn, WKY, SMS) went to the NCAA Tournament.

    This year, those six opponents are all currently .500 or better, with a combined record of 28-7 (.800). NU will face a total of 23 schools this season. Seventeen of those teams had a winning record last year and 10 of them went to the NCAA Tournament.

    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.

    All-Time NU Record Book Watch
    Career Points                   Career Assists      
    14.  Moira Kennelly (1,064)     4.  Connie Erickson (448)
    15.  Kristina Divjak (1,028)    5.  Joanne Palombo (378)
         Megan Chawansky (915)      6.  Amber DeWall (377)
    Career Three-Pointers Made      Career Three-Point Attempts
    2.  Moira Kennelly (173)        2.  Moira Kennelly (454)
    3.  Kristina Divjak (148)       3.  Kristina Divjak (351)
    5.  Megan Chawansky (75)        5.  Megan Chawansky (208)

    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. 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).

    Smart 'Cats
    The Wildcats earned the 14th-highest grade point average last year among all NCAA Division I women's basketball teams. NU was the only Big Ten school ranked among the top 25 academically, with a team GPA of 3.267. The 'Cats were one of six teams from last year's NCAA tournament to make the WBCA Honor Roll. The others 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)

    Promotions List
    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.

    Preseason Honors
    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"

    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. 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:

                            1000+     Home
    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
    Wildcat Probable Starters
    Pos.   No.  Name (height, class, hometown)                  ppg   rpg   apg
      F   #35   Kristina Divjak (6-0, Jr., Dyer, Ind.)         22.0   4.1   1.6
      F   #33   Anne Giblin (6-0, Jr., Upper Montclair, NJ)     6.0   3.9   1.4
      C   #54   Mary Connolly (6-3, Sr (5)., Chicago, Ill.)     5.3   4.8   0.7
      G   #20   Amber DeWall (5-9, Sr., St. Louis Park, Minn.) 10.6   5.9   5.9
      G   #24   Megan Chawansky (5-11, Jr., Avon Lake, Ohio)   13.4   5.3   3.7
    Off the bench
    Pos.   No.  Name (height, class, hometown)                  ppg   rpg   apg
      C    #3   Becky Fisher (6-4, Fr., Des Moines, Iowa)       0.3   0.0   0.0
      G    #5   Dana Leonard (5-6, Fr., Glenview, Ill.)         1.3   0.3   0.3
      G   #11   Lisa Byington (5-6, Sr., Portage, Mich.)        1.7   0.3   0.1
      F   #20   Chala Holland (6-1, Fr., Ardmore, Pa.)          0.0   0.0   0.0
      F   #21   Leslie Schock (6-0, So., Elgin, Ill.)           5.2   2.5   0.8
      G   #22   Clarissa Flores (5-8, Fr., Chicago, Ill.)       4.8   1.5   0.5
    G/F   #32   Candace Wrenn (5-9, Sr., Austin, Texas)         0.5   0.5   0.3
      C   #52   Leah Berki (6-1, So., Willowbrook, Ill.)        3.0   3.7   0.6