The butchers shop: Sisters dangerous playing ball, in mall

CHAMPAIGN – They are sisters who hail from the state''s softball hotbed, Casey-Westfield, and they have made a major impact at their respective universities. Along their path to prominence in the same sport and in the same community, however, are a series of differences.

One is 5-foot-6 and a natural left-handed hitter who uses her quickness to excel in softball. Away from the game, she loves to shop.

Who''s that Illini?

I''m best known as one of the premier short sprinters in Illinois history. I hold the UI school mark for the 60 meters, and my best finish in national competition came in the 1996 NCAA indoors, where I took third in the 55 meters. I was fourth in the same event a year later and took eighth in 1998.

Quoth the Raven

Kelvin Hayden and Duke Preston were the only former Illini taken in the NFL draft, but the Baltimore Ravens signed linebacker Matt Sinclair to a free agent deal. Here''s News-Gazette staff writer Brian Dietz''s read on Sinclair''s chances.

He''ll be footing the Bill

SAN DIEGO – Duke Preston had about 20 phone calls and talked to six or seven offensive line coaches this week. So the Illinois senior figured something good would happen this weekend.

But even a couple of hours after the Buffalo Bills selected him in the fourth round of the NFL draft on Sunday, Preston was trying to soak it all in.

Perfect approach on court

IOWA CITY, Iowa – It''s becoming perfectly clear: Big Ten titles are a matter of perfection for Illinois men''s tennis.

For the eighth consecutive season, Craig Tiley''s Illini won the league''s regular season crown Sunday with a perfect record. It is No. 4 Illinois'' ninth straight title overall.

Ask the expert

Does the Illinois baseball team having to win the Big Ten tournament to receive a bid to the NCAA tournament?And where will the Big Ten touranment be played?

Who''s that Illini?

I own the school record for blocked shots in a career, collecting 156 between 1981 and 1985. I could score, too, and now rank seventh on the UI career list with 1,526 points. My best season came as a sophomore, when I averaged 21 points. My uniform number: 53.

Letter rip

This week''s letters from readers on Dee Brown''s decision:


Should Dee Brown declare for the NBA?

English speaks<br>volumes for Illini

CHAMPAIGN – The temperature never reached 45 degrees and crosswinds howled up to 30 mph at Saturday''s Central Collegiate Championships.

Neither seemed to bother Illinois'' Andre English, who won the 110-meter hurdles and 100 dash.