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In this season of J.J. Redick and Adam Morrison, make room for Deb Remmerde. Give her space on college basketball's marquee. Throw in the key to the city, whatever that's worth in Orange City, Iowa.

Orange City (population 5,600) is home to Northwestern College, a Christian liberal arts school of 1,273 students. Among them is Remmerde, a sophomore guard who makes free throws the way the rest of us take breaths - routinely.

Remmerde made 133 in a row before missing Wednesday night in a 95-66 win at Dakota Wesleyan. It was the longest streak in the history of organized basketball - big stuff whether you play on national television or in Mitchell, S.D., site of Wednesday's game.

Before Remmerde, the longest streak at any level was 126 by Daryl Moreau of New Orleans De La Salle High School in 1978-79.

She also broke the NCAA men's record of 94 by Northern Kentucky's Paul Cluxton (1997), the NCAA women's mark of 69 by Concordia-Moorhead's Jamie Visness (2002-03), and the NBA record of 94 by Micheal Williams of Minnesota (1993).

Been there

Anyone who has attempted a free throw in competition can marvel at 133 in a row. Few can appreciate it more than Korey Coon, the former Illinois Wesleyan All-American who made 70 straight during the 1998-99 and 1999-2000 seasons.

"That's extremely impressive," said Coon, a project leader at Caterpillar, Inc., in Peoria. "I had heard of somebody making 90 in a row before. But 133 is almost double mine, and it took a long time for that to happen."

Coon made 29 straight to end his junior season and the first 41 of his senior year. Remmerde sank all of hers this season, going 23 games without a miss.

Remmerde scored 40 points Wednesday and averages 29.8. She grew up in Rock Valley, Iowa, and was the state's career scoring leader for girls high school basketball.

After a semester at the University of Iowa, she transferred to Northwestern College and earned first-team NAIA Division II All-America honors as a freshman.

It's an impressive resume to be sure, yet nothing could prepare Remmerde for the pressure of an extended streak. Take it from one who knows.

Mind game

"I didn't think about it at all for the first 40 or so, but once people start figuring out you've got a streak going and start talking about it, it's kind of hard not to," Coon said.

"The key to success in free throw shooting is to block everything else out, and I think you have to do that a little bit more when you have a streak going. But when you're in a groove like that, it's about 25 percent practice and 75 percent confidence. You're at such a high confidence level you don't think you can miss."

Remmerde told the Des Moines Register her streak was the product of work she put in during grade school and high school, saying, "All those reps I've had growing up to now, it was always the same repetition. It was always two dribbles, get in rhythm and shoot it."

Similarly, Coon made free throws a priority as a youth in East Peoria. He documented his daily free throw shooting in a notebook from about seventh grade through high school, saying, "I tried to shoot over 100 a day."

Coon made 91.3 percent for his IWU career (449 of 492) and 96.3 percent as a senior (157 of 163). The career mark ranks second in NCAA men's history (all levels) for players making 300 or more.

These days, Coon's play is confined to a Caterpillar League, where he is a teammate of former Elmhurst star Ryan Knuppel. His priority now is his 3-week-old son, Berkley.

"Another couple of months and I'll be teaching him how to shoot free throws," Coon said.

The quest for 134 begins.

Randy Kindred is a Pantagraph columnist. To leave him a voice mail, call 820-3402, By e-mail: rkindred@pantagraph .


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