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NIU's Doeren makes best of tricky situation

Wednesday, February 02, 2011  
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By Jay Taft

Posted Feb 02, 2011 @ 08:52 PM

New head football coach Dave Doeren was able to salvage a decent recruiting class for Northern Illinois, despite coming in late in the game and having to scramble. They may just have enough to keep the Huskies rolling in the near future.

The former Wisconsin assistant was hired last month, and then had to finish his stint with the Badgers, who played in the Rose Bowl. But he still was able to bring in a few potential stars for the Huskies.

"I’m fired up about all of them,” Doeren said. "It was a lot of work ... But this was about quality; we wanted guys that fit in here.”

He may have a few, including linebacker Videl Nelson, who runs a 4.51 40-yard dash and who had 178 tackles and 16.5 sacks for losses of 100 yards last season, and JUCO-transfer Jamal Womble, a 235-pound, hard-nosed running back who fits more of the Badgers-back mold than the Huskies scatback tradition.

Snow can’t slow colleges

This week’s blizzard did a number on local high school sports schedules, but it didn’t slow down the college scene — much. Though Rock Valley and Rockford College had to postpone basketball games, NIU stuck with its plan to play a men’s game on Wednesday night, and most of the other northern Illinois schools played on as well. Illinois even pulled out a 68-51 win over a hot Penn State team in a half-empty Assembly Hall on Tuesday night.

Rockford junior reaches 1,000

The Rockford women’s basketball team has had an up-and-down season, but through it all, one player has risen to the top. In just 69 career games, junior guard Britney Curry did something only nine others had done in 39 years of the Rockford College women’s basketball when she scored her 1,000th point. With 2:39 left in Saturday’s 70-50 win over Maranatha, Curry lofted up a layup to surpass the 1,000-point plateau.

Curry has led the Regents (8-11) in scoring in 34 games, averaging 14.5 points a game for her career. She ranks 10th on the school’s all-time scoring list (1,001) and 16th in rebounding (395).

Rangel named defensive POY

Sidney Rangel (Boylan) was voted by her teammates as the Defensive Player of the Year for the University of Dubuque women’s soccer team. This season she was named first-team all-conference and third-team all-region, and she holds the record for starting and playing in every game over her four-year career with the Spartans. She will graduate in May.

Big Ten muddled mess in middle

What happened to the Big Ten’s power-packed season? This was supposed to be the year that the Big Ten stepped out as the most talented league in the country, but much of the conference has slid into mediocrity.

Ohio State (22-0, 9-0) clearly is one of, if not the, best teams in the country. But after that, there is a bunch of three- and four-loss teams — including Illinois (15-7, 5-4) — that cannot break out of the middle of the pack. Michigan State, Wisconsin and Purdue still have time to show they can be a scary draw at tourney time.

This story appeared at on February 2, 2011.

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