CHAMPAIGN – She just scored the biggest goal in Illinois soccer history, but you''d have thought Sarah Brown was walking into a final exam instead of walking away from a historic occasion.
"She''s pretty laid-back," teammate Christine Sinak said. "She takes things in stride. She doesn''t stress out. She kind of rolls with it."
I was Illinois'' first basketball player from Texas. I earned third-team All-Big Ten honors as a senior in 1982 and shared team MVP honors that season with Perry Range. During my career, the Illini were victorious in 31 of the 40 games in which I scored in double figures. I wore jersey No. 13 and rank 28th on Illinois'' all-time scoring list with 1,124 points. As a 6-foot-10 center, I blocked 56 shots as a senior, a total second to Derek Holcomb''s 86 rejections in 1978-79. I paced the Illini in rebounding my final season, winding up my four-year career with 578. I currently reside in Fort Worth, Texas.
INDIANAPOLIS – Bruce Weber''s players can''t stop a post man. Mark Few''s guys can''t stop anybody.
At least that was the story coming out of Friday''s news conference for coaches involved in today''s Wooden Tradition doubleheader, which will pit Weber''s Illini against Few''s Gonzaga bunch.
CHAMPAIGN – Alaree Gunville and her Illinois teammates were in a clothing store in Texas during the first weekend of the NCAA tournament and had to enlighten a bystander on the career of their coach, Janet Rayfield.
"The lady in the store thought someone famous was in the store," Gunville said. "We''re like, ''Well, she is kind of famous.'' We went up and we were talking about how many goals she scored. The only person to break her record was Mia Hamm. That''s unbelievable."
Mark Few is not a big guy.
In a profession dominated by large men (think Bob Knight) and large personalities (think Mike Krzyzewski), Few is neither.
If I duplicate my scoring effort of a season ago, I will probably rank among Illinois'' top 50 scorers of all time. Entering this season, 279 of my 673 career points came via three-pointers. Perhaps my biggest two points came last season on a putback in the UI''s Big Ten championship clincher at Purdue. Illinois was victorious 21 times in my 24 games as a starter last season. The three Illini teams for which I lettered have averaged nearly 26 victories per season and captured two Big Ten titles. I wear No. 4 and handed out a career-high nine assists in Illinois'' NCAA victory against Cincinnati. Today marks my 24th birthday.
CHAMPAIGN – Coming as it did on a snow-driven, holiday eve, this will probably turn out to be the smallest (13,932), least vocal crowd of the Illini basketball season.
But if most folks saw the Oakland (Mich.) encounter as a laugher, don''t include Bruce Weber.