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Thursday, Jan. 9

Lincoln College vs. Lewis & Clark

[JAN. 9, 2003]  Lincoln College men and women played at home yesterday against the Lewis & Clark Community College Trailblazers.


LCCC     29   38     67

LC          38   49     87

LC:  Clark 0-0-0, Carlson 1-0-2, Fowler 2-2-7, Trotter 7-1-15, Bowen 1-0-2, Major 2-2-6, Thompson 6-1-13, Roberson 4-0-10, Chapman 7-7-21, Hollyfield 2-3-8, Lazzerini 1-0-3, Thorsen 0-0-0.  Totals 33-16-87.  Three-pointers:  Roberson 2, Fowler 1, Hollyfield 1, Lazzerini 1.


LCCC     36   47     83

LC           38   38     76

LC:  Lamb 0-0-0, Graham 0-0-0, Scott 0-2-2, Simpson 0-0-0, Hinrichsen 0-0-0, Bell 2-1-5, Pettis 1-5-17, Spears 1-0-2, Calhoun 2-0-4, Dearing 4-2-10, Cordnel 0-0-0, Rossio 1-0-2, Ernst 9-1-19, Melker 1-0-2, Harper 3-1-13.  Totals 27-7-76.  Three-pointers:  Pettis 5.

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'Birds want to get aggressive, put brakes on UNI

[JAN. 9, 2003]  NORMAL -- Jenny Yopp wants her team to get its aggressiveness back and, in the process, slow down the fast-paced Northern Iowa offense. Her Illinois State team takes on the Panthers Thursday in a Missouri Valley Conference basketball game in the West Gym at Cedar Falls.

In Katie Miller (19.8 points per game) and Amy Swisher (14.5), Northern Iowa coach Tony DiCecco has the highest-scoring duo in the Missouri Valley Conference.

"Katie Miller and Amy Swisher account for nearly half of their points," said Yopp. "Northern Iowa's transition offense is tough. We need to slow them down and match up with Miller and Swisher quickly. They are both very dangerous scorers."

Both teams are looking for their first conference win. The 'Birds, 2-8 overall, 0-1 in the Valley, dropped their home opener last week to Indiana State. Northern Iowa dropped both ends of a road trip to Drake and Creighton.

"It will be interesting to see how we respond to that," said DiCecco. "It will be important for us to regroup. Once we get to our bench, we're counting on first-year freshmen, so we'll be tested. We have to match Illinois State's energy and shoot better than we did (at

Creighton and Drake). We only shot 30 percent, and you have to do a lot of things exceptionally well to win shooting 30 percent."

DiCecco illustrated his belief that the Redbirds are improved by drawing an analogy to legendary Boston Celtics coach Arnold "Red" Auerbach, who used to light up a cigar at the end of every victory. "They do some very good things and have played well; they just haven't been able to get 'the cigar' on the other end," said DiCecco.

"Our concern is that they have kids who can break you down offensively. The question for us is whether we are disciplined enough to take things away from (Illinois State's offense) and how well we respond to last weekend."


[to top of second column in this article]

Yopp believes focusing on aggressiveness will be a key for her team. "Northern Iowa is a good, physical team, and we've had some good battles with them," said Yopp. "We weren't as aggressive against Indiana State as we had been in the previous three or four games, and that was disappointing. But I think our players now understand that we need to be aggressive and battle one day at a time, one game at a time, one play at a time."

The Redbird offense, which had increased its output in three straight games before the 70-51 loss to Indiana State, will have to take its cue from the defense, according to Yopp.

"We respond offensively to what we do defensively," said Yopp. "We know we'll face a tough man-to-man defense from Northern Iowa, and we'll have to be aggressive against that."

Taren O'Brien's 10 point-per-game average leads the Redbirds, who have four more players averaging between 7.0 and 8.0 per game, including sophomore Erin Keeney (7.0), who has averaged 15 points per game over her last two contests.

The Redbirds continue on the road to play a 5 p.m. Saturday game at Bradley.

[Thomas Lamonica,
Illinois State University]

Men's basketball pre-game notes

Illinois State vs. Creighton

[JAN. 9, 2003]   The Illinois State Redbirds play the Creighton Bluejays in men's basketball action on Saturday night at Redbird Arena.

Click here to view pre-game notes from Creighton (in Adobe Acrobat).

[Click here to download the Adobe Acrobat reader.]

[Provided by Thomas Lamonica,
Illinois State University]

Articles from the past week


  • Sports Radio 1450 Shootout

  • High school basketball

  • LCC women's basketball

  • Northern Iowa edges the Redbirds 66-64

  • Illinois amazes in road opener
    Cook leads Illini to 76-70 win at Minnesota


  • High school basketball


  • Mayfield's Mutterings...: Lincoln Railers splittin' the competition

  • Lincoln Gator Swim Club results

  • High school basketball

  • LCC men's basketball vs. Cincinnati Bible College

  • Indiana State pulls away from 'Birds 70-51

  • Cook does it again

  • Men's basketball pre-game notes:

  • Illinois State vs. Northern Iowa

  • University of Illinois vs. Minnesota


  • High school basketball


  • LCC Preachers vs. Ozark Christian College

  • ISUs square off in Valley opener

  • Men's basketball pre-game notes: Illinois State vs. Southern Illinois


  • Men's basketball pre-game notes: Illinois vs. Oakland

Lincoln Railers splittin' the competition

By Jeff Mayfield

[JAN. 6, 2003]  The Lincoln Railer express is loaded and steamin' through the competition! And as coach Alexander is careful to point out, they do it one game at a time. Such was the case Friday night as Lincoln dispatched Springfield Southeast 56-38.

Insiders will tell you that SE was without their star guard Ty Johnson. We'll tell you, that's hooey! Yes, he didn't play and they were a noticeably different team without him, but on this night would it really have mattered? We think not!

When Cory Farmer, Erik Young and Chris Bunch are hitting on all cylinders, this Railer contingent is pretty strong. Throw in a great game by Ryne Komnick (and I mean a GREAT game), and this one was over early in the third period!

I haven't even mentioned the consistent play of Derek Schrader and Brandon Heidbreder; and don't forget that Brock Werner will hopefully be back in two to three weeks as well. Funny how the Springfield papers fail to point that out… and they think we're the ones that are not full-time investigative reporters?!

What we REALLY liked about the game Friday was the way that Lincoln dictated the tempo and pace of the game after about the first four minutes. This style and tactic bodes well for the Railers IF they have plans to go far in the postseason.

Early experts said that the CS8 would be all SE and Lanphier. We wonder what they all think now??? The Railers also picked up a road victory at Jerseyville on Saturday night to run their record to 14-2; not bad for a team that some are not taking very seriously.

One more Railer note: It was nice to finally see a pretty decent crowd at a home game. Don't know if it's the winning record, the college kids being home or what, but it was still nice to see. A good home crowd could be worth a couple more important victories somewhere down the road!


Big Ten reigns supreme

…BUT if you're a loyal reader of the LDN, you've been hearing that from us since our very existence! We just feel that in football and basketball our conference is strongest from top to bottom. And until the ACC and the SEC and others can even go into the houses of our bottom-rung teams and consistently come away with some wins, that's not going to change anytime soon.

I know that all area Buckeye fans are delirious right now; but if they're the champs, what does that make the Illini? I seem to recall a recent game in Champaign where Illinois gave OSU all it wanted and deserved a better fate in the process. If that means what we think that means, that means that Illinois is this close to a national championship??? Probably as close as the Illini have been in years.

On the other hand both OSU and Miami have five or six of the type of athletes that the Illini never seem to have. I don't think Illinois will ever be able to compete year after year until they find some way to attract those kinds of players here! Superior size and strength would REALLY help; BUT, blazing speed at all skill positions can cover a multitude of sins! Here's hoping that some of those guys and that kind of help is on the way!!!

By the way, this column is not just our typical LDN sports department blabber! The Big Ten DID in fact win the conference bowl cup going away, hands-down by going 5-2 for a winning percentage of over .700! And that was without having Illinois drub some poor, unsuspecting team!

High drama in the NFL playoffs

…If you consider the wild-card round high drama and anything of significance.

According to the stats a wild-card team has not advanced all that often. So, you could say what a game Atlanta had at Green Bay or the Jets had over the Colts. You could say what a comeback Pittsburg had over Cleveland. You could even say what a miracle the 49ers threw at the NY Giants. Or you could say, so what!

All those teams must go on the road next week and show people they're for real. On the one hand, that shouldn't happen. The home teams have been resting, preparing and, most of all, getting their guys healthy.

On the other hand, the last few weeks there have been so many weird things happening in sports that it REALLY makes you wonder what's going on. For example: Is there now so much money on the line that the outcomes or at least the spreads are being played with? I sure hope we don't get a visit from somebody's Mongo or Baby-Face Nelson, but it REALLY does make you wonder. I'm sure that it will take a crack reporter and newspaper with many more investigative skills than our own upstart LDN to solve this mystery, but no one can question that strange things are taking place.

Whether it's the players, the officials, Vegas, the lucky bounce of the ball or whatever, YOU make the call. Please notify the LDN when you get the results. Until then, we're just going to remain a little skeptical…


LC and LCC going back to the hardwood

After a very lengthy layoff, too long in fact, Lincoln College and Lincoln Christian College are heading back to the hardwood this week. As a matter of fact, LCC even got some games in last week.

The Preachers went to 1-2, and we got no report on how the Angels fared in their annual New Year's tourneys down in Oklahoma.

Both of LC's teams will resume regular season play Wednesday night at home.

Second season looms for the Illini

The Illinois Fighting Illini are about to begin their second season after blowing through the non-conference portion of their schedule to go 10-1.

I would describe myself as an optimistic realist, and even I was overwhelmed by their success. An 8-3 record would have made me proud, and I could have even settled for a 7-4 mark at this point. So, I'm ecstatic to be covering a 10-1 ballclub.

But as the Big Ten season looms, many questions that we hoped to avoid will soon be answered. How will this young Illini team handle going on the road for four of the first six games? How will they respond to tough losses or even an occasional blowout loss? How will they handle conference success? How will they respond to playing more football and wrestling than the finesse that they've excelled in?


[to top of second column in this article]

As for me and my house, we will be thrilled to see us at 2-2 and at 3-3 after those first six games. Why? Because with four of our last six at home, if we can just hang around at the top until then, and with growing confidence each step of the way, good things could happen. We're going to go with something around 10-6 (even though I'm probably thinkin' more like 9-7 because of the early brutal schedule), which we think is doable. That would still get ‘em to 19-20 wins before the Big Ten bash and perhaps seal a nice seed in the Big Dance, which again would really help this young team. Enough muttering… Let the games begin!!!

Tough sledding for ISU

The ISU Redbirds continue to struggle. However, they showed signs of life Saturday in Carbondale. Gregg Alexander lit the tote board for 18 points to give ISU a solid chance at a tough and improbable road victory. But after being whistled for two cheap fouls he went to the bench. SIU outscored ISU 26-10 while Gregg was on the pines to take the win.

And it doesn't get any easier in the days ahead as the Birds are facing a tough road date at UNI and a Saturday home contest with No. 15 Creighton. Hopefully the intensity they showed Saturday will carry over in these next two games!

Regardless, it's great to see our former Railers faring so well on the next level!


Rating the Bears

It was a lot of fun covering the Bears in their inaugural Champaign season, even though they didn't play as well as the fans had hoped. If you recall, we had them at 8-8, and a case could be made that they could have reached that mark. And now the LDN gives the Bears their grades for this year:

Front office: C-

It's hard to know what all they did to get the pieces in place, but from our standpoint it looked like they were somewhat happy to into the season riding last year's laurels. Maybe they didn't feel it was as important since the games would be played downstate or maybe they didn't fully realize how brutal the schedule would be (next year's doesn't look all that much better to us). We also don't know all the options that were open to them once the season got going. We think that going much harder after Drew Bledsoe would have been a step in the right direction. Lots of things broke. We'll see how many they fix before next September.

Coaching: C-/F

If you want to talk about trying to coach a team with so many injuries, you have to take your hat off to what this team was able to do with patchwork lineups. That's the reason for such a high C-minus on that side of things. But, if you want to just talk about philosophies, well, then you have the other side of things. It concerns us when any coach says that they are happy to be competitive and are pleased to still be in games in the final two minutes. Let us just say from experience, that would NEVER play well in Oakland or San Francisco. They'd run you right into the Bay and use you for a bridge support! So, since it wouldn't play there, how does it play here? You have to attack in the NFL on both sides of the ball. IF you just wait until they do something bad before you try to do something good… Well, what happens if THEY don't make many mistakes? Offensively, something has to be done! We're sticking to these grades!

Offense: C+

Considering what play-calling they were given and the extent of their injuries, a C-plus or even a B-minus could be accounted for. Jim Miller was bandaged and taped together, and Chris Chandler was in even worse shape. Anthony Thomas was adequate at times, but more would have helped lighten the load on the quarterbacks. Receivers were not nearly the threat that most hoped they would be. A speed merchant with great hands is an absolute must for next season.

Defense: B+

Maybe too high a grade… but as much as they had to be on the field with their limited numbers, we felt they kept the Bears in some games that they shouldn't have been in. Still, improvements on the line and in the secondary would make the linebacking corps even MORE imposing!

Special teams: D

As we said on many occasions, they just weren't all that special. We were hoping that Brad Maynard would help a little bit more. Again, a great return specialist is an absolute non-negotiable for next season.


This is a no-brainer. Paul Ettinger was easily the MVP of this team… period!!!

Fans: A/F

They were always with the team and did a great job! To those who didn't think they would be any different than the Illini fans: You couldn't have been more wrong. And to those who actually drove down from Chicago every week: You oughta get some kind of award. We had to drive only an hour and a half to look at THAT!

On the other side of the fence: To those who were so drunk that they didn't know where they were, or so rude on every possible occasion, thanks for demonstrating such good traits to a lot of young impressionable fans! Some of you were a joke!

To those who didn't take advantage of seeing a professional sport in your own back yard: Don't gripe and complain about it later!


Tonight at 6, right here on your LDN dial, CITV or FIX-96.3 FM, we have some special stuff in store for you. So get your question or comments ready and give us a call at 735-3306.

[Jeff Mayfield]

Bloomington, Ill.—Sam Leman, Chrysler, Jeep, Mazda, and Auto Stop

The largest program car dealer in downstate Illinois just announced plans to have one of the largest 4-day events held in Bloomington.  This event will take place on Jan. 2, 3, 4 and 6.  According to Rick Pontnack, general sales manager, outstanding new sales in November and December have resulted in an extraordinary number of used vehicles in stock, “More now than we've had in months!  I have program cars, trucks and vans.  Cars starting at $995.00!  We are going to have to move a lot of used vehicles fast…or else they will go to wholesale auction.”

Rather than lose money wholesaling these vehicles, plus carrying cost, Rick decided to slash the prices on the entire inventory in an attempt to sell at least 150 vehicles in 4 days.  “I've been given orders to sell some cars for $995 that normally sell for $3000, just to move them.  The Average sale price will be from $1000 to $3000 less than our normal low prices.  The savings will be incredible!”  Sam Leman Chrysler, Jeep, Mazda, and Auto Stop will have all of these used vehicles on display in the heated Interstate Center in Bloomington starting on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2003.

“Word of mouth is the best form of advertising, and if you sell people quality cars like we do, you get a lot of loyal repeat customers,” said Rick Pontnack, expressing Sam Leman's philosophy.

All vehicles are subject to prior sale.  For information, call 309-662-5000.


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