Breakdown: Women’s basketball frontcourt

By Matt Hopkinson

Sometimes inexperience can be a detriment to a sports team, and other times, it can lead to success.

This will be one story line sure to play out as the season for NIU women’s basketball revs up. There are six new players in the system, and five of them will be in the front court. However, only four are eligible to play, as transfer Jada Buggs will sit out this season due to NCAA rules.

“I’m definitely looking forward to [coaching new players],” said Kathi Bennett, NIU women’s basketball head coach. “They get thrown into the fire right away, and there’s no better teaching tool than experience.”

Small Forward

The small forward will be up for grabs for whoever gives the most results. There is a possibility for anyone to receive it, including junior transfer Satavia Taylor who will be available to play starting spring semester. Taylor plays both guard positions on the scout team and could be an interesting option at small forward. Also seeing time there could be freshman Janae Jackson and sophomore Ashley Sneed. Grade: C

Power Forward

The power forward position should be anchored by returning starter senior Kim Davis. Davis was second on the team last season in rebounds. Former center Ebony Ellis was first in rebounds.

“Ebony is a really good player,” Davis said. “I don’t necessarily try to step into the role, but I know I have to step my game up because we did lose two really good people. It’s an all around team thing; we all need to contribute.”

Also rounding out the rotation for power forward will be freshman Natecia Augusta and Jenna Thorp, who did not play last season due to injury. With Davis more than likely set to start, this position could produce good results overall. Grade: B+


Returning player Shaakira Haywood figures to be set to start after Ellis graduated. Haywood played in 30 games last season but came into those all off the bench. Haywood will need to increase her rebounding totals if she is going to start. The remaining rotation of center could be another battle from practices, as freshman Claire Jakubicek and freshman Natecia Augusta have made impressions on the team.

“We have Jakubicek and Augusta, who have both been competing,” Bennett said. “I believe they are both going to vie for crucial minutes and playing time.” Grade: C