Session 1 attendance which included the Galesburg-Fenwick game on Friday afternoon was the highest for the entire tournament with 4,065. It even outdrew the championship and consolation game session on Saturday night (3,742). The Streaks were the obvious "X" factor since they brought more fans than any other team in the Elite Eight.
Casey Berrys ankle injury suffered in the third quarter was diagnosed as a severe sprain. "At this point, shes supposed to monitor it and later they will decide if she needs to have it examined for a break," said Streaks Coach Evan Massey.
Erin Lawless showed up at the press conference after the Streaks win with an ice bag on her neck and another on her knee. "Im an on-going physical wreck," said Lawless "but Ill be ready for tomorrows game."
One bright spot in the Streaks loss to Fenwick was the play of Brittany Stephan and Sade Boyd. Both underclassmen Stephan is a junior, Boyd a sophomore gained some valuable experience at State. "A huge thing for us was Brittanys ability to defend big, good post players," said Massey. "She did a great job for us. We need her to get stronger in the off season to be able to battle for more minutes. Sade was certainly huge off the bench for us. Not only did she give us some outside scoring that we wanted, she did a good job defensively in some critical situations. Next year, we need her to be stronger taking care of the ball.
Sophomore LaToya Wright scored four points in the final 21 seconds of the game. Wright set a sophomore team record by averaging 20.7 points a game for Mike Ruxs undefeated team. "LaToya had a great year," said Massey. "We think she will be a good player for us next season. She will need to get fundamentally stronger on defense."
Losing to Limestone was a sad way for Pierre Williams to finish his career. The Streaks leading scorer was ineligible for his entire sophomore year and half his junior season. "Basketball is my life," said Williams. "Its the way it is for Marlon LaViolette in baseball and Derrek Blackwell in football. Basketball is the same for me." Williams is looking at junior colleges to attend, specifically Southeastern (Burlington, Iowa) and Lincoln College.
A Streaks banner hung over the facade at Redbird Arena during Galesburgs quarterfinal game against Fenwick. It was the first time a lot of observers can remember that being allowed at the state tournament. Maybe the IHSA is starting to mellow.
The IHSAs television broadcast of all of the state girls games was commendable but their broadcasters showed a woeful lack of preparation. The camera work was good but the interviews were shoddy and questions asked of IHSA officials were nothing but softballs.
Naperville Central capped off their undefeated season with an overtime win over Fenwick (their second such win over the Friars this season). With the game tied and Fenwick in possession, Lawless never touched the ball and Fenwick didnt score.
Jenna Bicegos four assists against Fenwick broke the season record, giving her 220.
Joel Dieterich finished his freshman season on a low note but still gained invaluable experience for his varsity career. "Basketball-wise, Im not a freshman anymore," said Dieterich after the game against Limestone. "But its not going to be the same around here anymore without these seniors. They brought me in and got me going."
Basketball venues such as Northern Illinois and The Mark put forth a greater effort than Redbird Arena for state tournament games. Staffs at both facilities went the extra mile for the teams, fans and media. One prevalent theory is that either site would love to host the Elite Eight when it comes up for bids in two years.