Belief helps Illini women get past rival

The Illinois women''s tennis team didn''t let history bother it Sunday as it hosted No. 7 Northwestern.

When it was over, the 24th-ranked Illini made a little history themselves, beating the Wildcats for the first time since April 2000 with a 4-3 win at Atkins Tennis Center.

Ask Brett

During the college basketball season, Brett Dawson, our resident expert, will answer a question on his specialty. This week's question:

Illinois fails to repeat offensive feat against Michigan State

URBANA – Too bad the Illinois softball team couldn''t keep a few of the runs it scored Friday night to help it Saturday against Michigan State.

Less than 24 hours after the Illini pounded the ball around Eichelberger Field, the hits and runs were few and far between with the sun out. Illinois mustered three hits and fell to the Spartans 2-0 on Saturday to split the two-game series.

Illini struggles past the pain

CHAMPAIGN – Remember Kerri Strug''s performance for the U.S. women''s gymnastics team at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics?

Illinois'' Erik Garnett did his best Strug impersonation Saturday at the NCAA Men''s Gymnastics Championships.

Illinois'' record performance upstaged by visiting gymnasts

CHAMPAIGN – For the past month, it was as if Illinois'' men''s gymnastics team were writing the script and sending it to the printer.

The Illini were ranked No. 1 in the country. They got to host the Big Ten Championships and promptly took the team title. This weekend, they had the opportunity to host the NCAA Championships, and on the most important day of the season, they posted a school-record score of 222.225 in Saturday''s team finals.

''Comfortable'' Halsey has spring in his step

CHAMPAIGN – During the first two weeks of spring practice, the Illinois defenders surrounded every player they tackled.

On Saturday, E.B. Halsey paid them back.

UI Roundup: McGaffigan topples sister to help UI rally

Jennifer McGaffigan got the best of her sister as Illinois got the best of Wisconsin on Saturday.

Matched against younger sister Katie at No. 1 singles, McGaffigan won 7-5, 6-4 to help No. 24 Illinois rally to a 4-3 Big Ten women''s tennis win at Atkins Tennis Center. It was the UI''s sixth consecutive win.

Pomeroy''s perfection carries her to NCAAs

TUCSON, Ariz. – Illinois freshman Cara Pomeroy picked a perfect time to record the first 10.0 in school history.

Pomeroy''s perfect score on the uneven bars at Saturday''s South Central Regional Championships qualified her for the NCAA Championships. She and junior teammate Ashley Williams, who qualified with an all-around total of 39.275, will compete at the national meet April 15-17 in Los Angeles.

Weber''s World

The office is his now and not just because his mementos line the shelves and his papers clutter the desktop. Bruce Weber''s name has been on the door almost a year now, but he''s finally feeling at home in the Ubben Basketball Complex. Walls that once were barren now feature framed photos of the Assembly Hall and a giant collage of News-Gazette pages commemorating Illinois'' Big Ten championship.

Now if only his home life felt so homelike. "The rain is killing us," Weber says, the cool wind whipping raindrops against his office window. "The brick guy can''t work when it''s like this." The plan is for the Weber clan to move into its new house sometime in May, but Weber is in charge of handling the outside, arranging for landscaping and brick work that''s being wildly delayed. Weber is looking forward to that new house. But mostly he''s happy to be feeling at home.

Illinois stumbles but does enough to make finals

CHAMPAIGN – While some of their fans were biting their fingernails to the bone, the Illinois men''s gymnastics competitors were taking a deep breath and relaxing.

The top-ranked Illini advanced to tonight''s team finals at the NCAA Championships, but only after a few anxious moments – even if they were experienced mostly by the folks in the Assembly Hall stands.