Corral seizing opportunity


Meghan Connell | Northern Star

By Eli Gehn

Growing up, NIU freshman guard Amanda Corral never thought she would be playing D-I college basketball.

Basketball was a sport Corral had been playing since she was 5 years old, but the overall way she looked at the game changed when she was older.

“I didn’t really start getting serious about basketball until my sophomore year in high school,” Corral said.

Corral played her high school ball at Hobart High School in Hobart, Ind. Each year playing for the Brickies, Corral steadily increased her statistics.

The 5’6″ guard would earn First Team All-Conference honors in each of her first three seasons. She would then get off to a great start to her senior season, averaging 17.9 points, 5.0 steals and 4.0 rebounds per game.

The Hobart, Ind. native was receiving offers to play D-I ball from schools such as Ball State, Evansville, Loyola, Valparaiso and more.

Corral then decided to commit to NIU based on the universities location from her home and the overall plan of rebuilding the program that coach Kathi Bennett wanted her to be a part of.

“It made my day,” Bennett said, with a smile about receiving the phone call of commitment by Corral. “Knowing that there’s someone building our program that loves the game that much, I think that’s really important.”

Then, just two weeks after she signed her national letter of intent to play with NIU, Corral suffered a season ending torn ACL four games into her senior season.

“It was really depressing for me because I had worked so hard to get to that point,” Corral said about the injury.

Despite the ACL tear, Corral continued to work hard, and incredibly recovered just five months after her surgery.

“In the long run, it’s going to make her a better player,” Bennett said. “I think she appreciates the game because it was taken away from her for that little bit.”

After going under the knife in December of 2010, Corral was ready when opening practice began this past year for the Huskies.

Since then, Corral has started in all 18 contests this season averaging 8.8 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. She also leads NIU with minutes played, averaging 30.6 per contest.

With Bennett looking to rebuild the women’s basketball program as the years continue, Corral fits into the scheme that she wants very well.

“She’s someone you can feel comfortable with building,” Bennett said. “You’re going to go through some swings and I think she’s the type of person and player that can handle those things. She’s got a toughness about her and I think that’s really important when you’re trying to build and she’s got that.”