Basketball learns, grows throughout season
Mark Brockett - Sports Reporter
While there weren’t a
lot of victory celebrations for the UIS women’s basketball team
season, the team came out in every contest and played determined basketball.
With the first round loss last week in the American Midwest Conference
tournament to rival McKendree, the Stars concluded their sub .500 season
finishing 7-22 overall. Five of those victories were in the UIS Gymnasium
where the Stars took advantage of the familiar atmosphere. However, the
team was less than stellar on the road finishing with a mark of 1-13.
The team put together back-to-back wins this season only once which made
things difficult as far as gaining confidence and momentum. Although there
were many hardships, the team did have some bright spots to speak of.
Senior forward Zabrina Harper led the team in scoring with an average
of 17.7 points per game and shot 45.7 percent from the field. She also
had the highest average in steals, a healthy 2.1 per game. Senior center
Ashley Barton had an average of 12.3 points per game. She led the team
in rebounding averaging 7.8 a game and averaged almost 1 blocked shot
per game at 0.7. The teams assist leader was senior point guard Kelly
Beyer who had 2.5 per game. With that, she averaged a little more than
30 minutes a game.
The highest three point percentage belonged to senior guard Chikayla Moss
who impressed with a 36.6 percentage from behind the arc. This contributed
to her 10.4 points per game average. Freshmen guard LaTrice Nettles also
fit in nicely in her first season as a UIS Prairie Star basketball player
by averaging 10 points per game.
The team looks to find ways to improve their standing in the basketball
next season by rebuilding due to six seniors leaving. While there will
be some hardships, one will find it hard to see a team that doesn’t
give 100 percent day in and day out.
end season in AMC Tournament
Jason Stuebe - Sports Editor
The Stars came oh so close
but in the end wound up so far away dropping a double over-time heartbreaker
to Williams Baptist in Walnut Ridge, Ark., last Thursday night sending
the Stars home for good, 71-72.
The Stars led at the half, 32-29 in the contest and were evenly balanced
in the second half but the story line was the irony in the closing seconds.
With the game knotted in double OT and time running out, UIS’ leading
free-throw shooter Joe Miller took a hard foul and injured his knee. The
injury prevented him from shooting what could have been the game winning
The Stars were led by Antonio Puckett, who had 20 points; Miller, who
had 11 of his own before the mishap; freshman Collin Crull, who nearly
notched a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds and Che Jordan,
who closed out his short UIS career with a nine point, six rebound game.
While the Stars had one of their better field shooting performances in
quite some time knocking in 43.9 percent of the shots, their 7-27 shooting
from behind the arc proved fatal compared to Williams Baptists 7-11 shooting.
The loss dropped the season record to 8-22 and 4-8 in the AMC and prompts
the beginning of what should be an interesting off-season back at the
drawing board and recruiting.
Women drop tourney opener to McKendree
Jason Stuebe - Sports Editor
The seventh-seeded Stars proved
to be little trouble for the second-seeded McKendree, as the Bearcats
soundly defeated UIS 97-54, ending the Stars’ tumultuous season
at 7-22 overall and 3-1 in the AMC.
The Stars were basically out shot, out rebounded and outplayed throughout
the game. McKendree dominated the boards, pulling down 58 total rebounds,
39 of which were defensive, while UIS could only muster 29 total rebounds.
It was those boards that generated transition points for McKendree as
the Bearcats amassed some impressive numbers, shooting 49.4 percent from
the field, 47.1 percent from the arc and 75 percent from the free throw
line. All this compared to the Stars average 35.4 percent performance
from the field, 11.1 percent from behind the arc, and 63.6 percent from
the charity stripe.
The Stars were led by Kelly Beyer, who put it 17 points for the Stars
while Kenoshia Brown had nine points and Ashley Barton had eight points
and 10 boards. With the season behind them and nowhere to go but up in
the future it could be quite the off-season with several changes on the
horizon for the squad.
more year in the sun for Green Bay's Brett Favre
Mark Brockett - Sports Reporter
I know what you’re all
thinking. It doesn’t make any sense, Mark. During your tenure at
The Journal you have professed to us that the Chicago Bears are your one
true sports love and the day they finally get it done, you’ll be
there with them standing tall over such rival teams as Minnesota, Atlanta
and especially, Green Bay. Please don’t tell us all that you’re
serious when you tell us that your favorite athlete of your lifetime and
anyone else’s is none other than Brett Favre of the Green Bay Packers!
Well, I must explain to all of you that yes, all of that is true. Brett
Favre is my favorite athlete despite being one of the most hated sports
figures in the city of Chicago. For that, I’ve faced a lot of criticism
in the family and with close friends who bleed orange and navy blue with
me. But, it hasn’t always been this way.
Growing up, I most certainly did not like him or anything that he accomplished
on the field. I saw him as another reason to wish the city of Green Bay
nothing but heartache and tribulation. After all, since 1993, the Bears
have not beaten Green Bay in Chicago and Favre has started in every single
one of those games and has been incredibly effective, to say the least.
But, as I grew wiser and indulged myself more into this crazy little world
we call sports, I realized that respected the man as a player and saw
a little of myself in him.
We rarely receive the opportunity to live out sports fantasies in reality.
While everyone has their backyard stories of triumph and legendary performances,
it isn’t quite the same when you actually see it done from the very
best. One of the first legendary performances that I remember seeing was
a 1995 regular season game at Lambeau Field between Green Bay and Chicago
where Brett had a sprained knee but decided to play on it. In snowy conditions,
Favre torched the Bears defense, especially the secondary, by going 25
of 33 for 336 yards and five touchdowns with zero interceptions. Don’t
get me wrong; on that day, I threw every pillow in the house at the television
set. But I gained a lot of respect for him because of that game.
Besides the tough guy attitude (Brett has never missed a start in his
professional career dating back to 1992) and the gun-slinging passing
style, he’s one of the most loyal teammates that a player can have.
He has made careers for some less than stellar performers such as wide
receivers Antonio Freeman, Robert Brooks, Bill Schroeder and Corey Bradford.
To top it all off, he hasn’t had to experience a losing season in
the last decade at least. Unfortunately, we can’t say the same in
More than anything else that has impressed me about this man was the performance
both on and off the field in December of 2003, when he found out one day
before playing the Oakland Raiders in an extremely crucial game for the
Packers’ playoff hopes that his father had passed away in an automobile
accident. The next day had him contemplating whether or not he should
play in the game as he spent it with family and friends. Brett’s
father taught him everything he knows about football and also coached
him at the high school level, so he believed that playing in the game
would be the best way to honor him for the life that he lived and gave
The performance on the field was as close to perfection that an athlete
can get to. Favre completed 22 of 30 passes for 399 yards and four touchdowns.
All four touchdowns were scored in the first half of that game and led
the usually hostile Raider fans into a standing ovation for him. In the
post-game interview, you could see in his eyes how truly great the loss
was for him and that is something that I will never forget. So often we
see athletes as just athletes, but to see the person shine through in
that moment was truly touching.
At age 35 and after a dismal postseason game against Minnesota in Green
Bay, Favre had contemplated hanging it up. After all, he is a three time
MVP and has won a Super Bowl. But, much to the delight of the Packer faithful
and anyone like me, it looks like he will be around for one more year
in the sun. For those of you who are still reading this and no longer
have that shocked look on your face, take the time this next NFL season
to watch one of the all time great players in what may very well be his
last year. From a sports perspective, players like Brett only come around
every so often. Take advantage of the opportunity next season much like
Brett will surely take advantage of his. Take care and thanks for reading.
As we get ready to complete
the last half of the last semester of the academic year, I’ve been
sitting here thinking in this hotel suite of mine (yes, we’re broadcasting
on location this week), and I thought now would be just as good of time
as any to do some reflecting.
With winter sports having wrapped up or in the process of doing so in
the next week and spring sports getting underway it’s a darn good
time to look at men’s and women’s basketball, and the Blue
Crew (or lack thereof).
It goes without saying that that this was a year full of what-ifs and
what-might-have-beens. Sure, the Stars were young and fresh but there
truly was such talent that the end result of 8-22 wasn’t supposed
to be quite that low.
What if Johnny Tate has been around during the conference season? What
kind of momentum could the Stars had carried if they beat McKendree at
home? The list could go on and on but the one good thing to realize is
that this team could be something in the next year or so.
Antonio Puckett and Collin Crull stand to have the breakout type season
that Coach Kevin Gamble certainly was looking for this year, while experience
for Aaron Anderson and others should yield better results. Not to mention
the fact that in the later part of the year, a parade of recruits came
to several games in what looks to be Gamble’s most aggressive attempt
at brining quality players to UIS.
What more can you say about this? There were times when it looked like
things were going to be all right this season and there were others where
this particular program had more drama than a high school prom.
There were times when it was pleasure for Mark and me to cover these games
though there were many more where it was a labor of love.
Much like the men’s team, this was a team with plenty of talent.
You had Zabrina Harper posting double-doubles like they were going out
of style with the strong support of Ashley Barton and Kelly Beyer. By
season’s end, LaTrice Nettles was clicking on all eight cylinders
and could prove to be quite the utility-man next season.
Nevertheless, it was what happened off the court and behind the seasons
that ultimately sank this season; and I’m going to come out and
say it: it’s time for change. UIS has reached the point of rivaling
Harris Stowe as the worst in the conference; such a low could never have
been imagined in anyone’s wildest dreams.
Blue Crew, where are you?
I have to admit, I’m a little befuddled here. The beginning of the
year was awesome. With the Blue Crew under new leadership, new solidarity,
new chants and cheers, new people, it was simply wonderful. Then the inevitable
lull hit. Certainly it didn’t help having losing teams and conference
games scheduled on two of the most class heavy nights but what happened
to the fun and games? The pride? I miss it guys. Accept this as my plea:
come back – they need you, hell, I need you.
Yes, there were those handful of crazies out there doing their best, but
just imagine if every game had the type of support as that men’s
game against McKendree in mid-January. If such was the case, the records,
as mentioned above, might not be such a bitter pill to swallow.
So there you have it, the end of one season leading to the beginning of
the next. With women’s tennis looking at a championship style season,
men’s tennis greatly improving and women’s softball shedding
its infancy, it could be quite the spring.
Oh yeah, and you can bet the farm that we’ve considered axing Mark
Brockett after his prediction of an Illinois loss at Ohio State came true.
As always, go Stars!
The Intramural 5x5 Basketball
League has crowned the Intramural Champions. The Losers did not live up
to their name as they beat HUGE in the closely contested championship
game 56-52. The Losers who were the number two seed upset previously undefeated
HUGE to claim the title. Congratulations to co-captains Michal Haney and
Jesse Vezina and their teammates Dan Caughey, Michael Fitzpatrick, Matt
Garlits, Steve Ingram, Chase Kailer, and J.R. Pearce. NIRSA finished third
in the league at 2-2. The Stars were 1-3 followed by The Girls at 0-4.
Congratulations to all intramural basketball players for participating
in this year’s league.
OZ wins the Intramural Men’s
Badminton Doubles tournament. Doubles partners Jerome Pradal & Cyril
Cottini took the best 3 out of 5 match series over the Shuttle Cocks (Kyle
Simpson and Ryan Reese) to become this year’s Intramural Champions.
OZ dominated the first game with a 15-1 victory, but the Shuttle Cocks
stormed back to take the second game, 15-11. The deciding third game went
down to the last point before OZ managed to hold on with a 15-14 win.
Congratulations to all in this year’s doubles play.
Spring Break Informal Open
Recreation Hours for the Rec Center (Fitness Center and Gym) will be shortened
during the campus vacation. Beginning Friday, March 11 through Sunday,
March 20, the facilities will be open Monday-Friday, 10am-2pm and 5-8pm;
Saturday, 10am-2pm; and Sunday, 4-8pm. Participants wishing to use the
above facilities must submit a valid i-card upon entering the Rec Center.
One day tournaments for Intramural
6x6 Indoor Volleyball and IM 4x4 Futsal (indoor soccer without the walls)
will be held Saturday, April 2 and Sunday, April 3 respectively. Team
entry forms are due in the CRS Office by 11pm on Tuesday, March 29. Both
tournaments are mixed team. Intramural play is free to UIS Students and
Rec Center Members with a valid i-card. Non-Rec Center Members and Non-UIS
pay a $10 fee per sport. Check the website or campus e-mails for more
tournament and roster information.
The Intramural Tennis Doubles
Tournament is scheduled for Sunday, April 17 beginning at 2:30pm at the
UIS Courts. Team entries are due by 11pm on Monday, April 11. Check the
website or campus e-mails for more tournament and roster information.
Toning & Conditioning Fitness
Class Session C meets Mondays and Fridays from 12:10-12:50pm in the UIS
Gym from March 21 through April 29 (no class on Good Friday, March 25).
Students and Rec Center Members with a valid i-card pay $9; Non-Rec Center
Members pay $27. Register and pay the appropriate fee in the CRS Office
before class begins on March 21.
Questions? Contact Campus Recreational
Sports in the Fitness Center (SLB 118) at 206-6658 or send an e-mail to
EU Show Me Games Tournament (Springfield, MO)
Playing in their second tournament of the year, the Stars dropped five
of their six games, spiraling their season record so far to 2-8 heading
into today’s home opener against Olivet Nazarene University.
The Stars opened the tournament with a 9-2 loss to William Jewell on Friday
morning but quickly rebounded in a 1-0 win over Southwest Baptist. It
would be the last time the Stars saw victory that weekend.
The women then lost their next four events to 20th ranked host team Evangel
by a score of 9-0, Baker University by an 8-0 margin, Lindenwood by a
7-1 margin, and Benedictine by a 7-0 margin.
As is telling by the scores, the often time explosive bats of the Stars
were silenced by nearly every opponent faced. Though it was not so much
that the Stars were getting hits more than it was the Stars weren’t
getting the hits when and where they needed them to produce runs.
Host team Evangel wound up the champions of the tournament.
Friday, March 11
Washington Park 1:00 p.m.
The #24 women’s tennis squad heads across town to begin their march
towards a second consecutive Region V crown as they serve up their season
opener against Lindenwood.