Women’s basketball looks to strong set of point guards for support

By Jacob Onak

Going into the start of the regular season it’s clear that NIU women’s basketball has strength and depth at the guard position.

The Huskies have a number of players who can both run the point but can step out and shoot the ball. It helps that all the guards have bought into coach Kathi Bennett’s defense first mentality.

In their preseason exhibition game against Indiana Wesleyan, the Huskies had six guards get time on the court. With the amount of talent that the Huskies have at the guard spot, the competition in practice will push players to get better throughout the season.

Bennett is excited to see if the guards can translate their play in practice to the games.

“I mean, our competition during practice is pretty good,” Bennett said. “I wish we can get as loose as how we go at it in practice because it’s fun to watch, we have a lot of good players and that’s going to help us in the long run. I feel confident with any one of our guards that I can put them out at any time.”

The return of sophomore guard Amanda Corral gives the Huskies a big boost, coming off a great freshman season as she lead the team and the MAC with a 45.1 three-point shooting percentage, along with averaging 31.7 minutes per game. She was also second on the team in scoring with an average of 10 points per game.

Toward the end of last season, junior guard Alicia Johnson got a good amount of minutes, starting in 13 game. She is a clear vocal leader on the court for the Huskies.

The return of red shirt sophomore guard Danny Pulliam from a knee injury also strengthens the Huskies backcourt as well as the addition of freshman guard Alexis Lindstrom. Pulliam is player who brings a lot of grit, energy and heart to the Huskies backcourt.

Corral thought both players did well in the exhibition against Indiana Wesleyan.

“In terms of Danny, she just came off a knee injury and I think she’s looking really good,” Corral said. “I think she’s just getting her quickness back and I think she will only get better from here. As far as the freshman Alexis I thought she handled herself well, had a lot of poise and I think we have a lot of depth.

“It will be fun this season, to rotate, grind, keep running the floor and rotate people in and out when we get tired.”

The Huskies have a number of versatile players who can play both the guard and forward spot as well, including senior Satavia Taylor and red shirt sophomore Jenna Thorp. Both players have speed and strength in the paint and can get to the basket, but they also have the ability to step out and shoot the ball.

Thorpe said NIU wants to be a team, who demands respect when they step out onto the court.

“We definitely want to be known as a defensive team, grinders as she [coach Bennett] likes to call it,” Thorp said. “That everybody knows when we come in the gym they know we are going to grind and battle and be known as that kind of team.”