On April 30, 2011, former Northern Illinois women’s basketball star Lisa Foss was inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame at Illinois State’s Student Center in Normal, Ill.
Foss was one of 78 individuals honored that night and is the second Huskie in as many years to be honored by the IBCA. Last year, NIU women’s basketball assistant coach E.C. Hill was inducted.
A Lake Zurich High School legend, Foss scored 35 points per game in her final campaign. Her 994-point season is tied for eighth all-time on the Illinois High School Association’s single season list. Among her highlights at LZHS, the 5’6” guard had 56- and 54-point games.
“It’s an honor for sure,” Foss said. “When you hear your name called (into a Hall of Fame) or hear someone talk about you (in high regard), it’s hard to respond. The things I think of a lot are the hours and effort I put in. It’s about the journey it took to get there. I think of my teammates, coaches, parents, family and friends. I couldn’t have done it without them.
“I certainly didn’t set out to be a Hall of Famer; I was just trying to be the best I could be. Seeing all the names that I was joining, it’s a very select group. There’s definitely a ‘wow’ factor to think you are amongst those people.”
In 2005, Foss was inducted into the Northern Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame as part of the 1989-90 team induction, as Foss and Co. were the first in program history to reach the NCAA Tournament. She was also inducted as an individual in 1997 for her marvelous career.
“Most of my success came from hours of practice and hard work,” Foss said. “I was small and didn’t have a lot of physical factors going for me. It was my effort. I led the state in scoring my senior year and started getting recognized by colleges. I knew I had to step up a level, though. A lot of people play high school basketball, but few go on to play in college. I felt that I had to really prepare. I always expected so much out of myself and college basketball. There’s nothing like college basketball. I was in heaven when I came to Northern. It was a dream to play at that level of basketball.”
Known as “Light’em Up Lisa,” Foss set a Huskie record with 2,500 points in her career (1987-91) while playing for fellow Hall of Famer Jane Albright.
Foss torched scoreboards across the nation, posting a total which still ranks among the top 25 in NCAA Division I history. She scored 20 or more points an amazing 69 times, including 13 games with 30 or more tallies and 17 more between 25 and 29 points.
As a senior, she ranked ninth in the nation in scoring with an average of 24.4 points per game. She posted 20 or more points in 10 consecutive games at one stretch and 26 times during the season. That productivity helped her reach double digits in scoring 117 times in 122 career games, including each of her last 51 outings in the Cardinal and Black.
Foss still owns an incredible 17 school records, including the Huskie standards for career points and scoring average (20.5 points per game). Her 41 points versus 14th-ranked Washington led NIU to the championship of the Fastbreak Fest tournament and also matched the school single-game scoring record.
After her Huskie career, she played professionally overseas, then started her own business: Lisa Foss Basketball. Using her knowledge of the game, she teaches young players how to shoot.
“I teach all over, I’ve done it since college,” Foss said. “It’s mostly just individual help. It’s a lot of fun to teach both the boys and girls that I work with. When I get them one-on-one, I can really get to know them, and love being able to help them get better.”
Along with her basketball business, Foss is part owner of her family’s business, LumberJacks, a business based in Lake in the Hills and Woodstock that cuts firewood and mulch.