Women’s guards will feature former backups handling the ball

By Matt Hopkinson

NIU women’s basketball has six new players, but realistically, only one will be a member of the backcourt. Amanda Corral is a freshman, brand new to the system and game of collegiate ball.

Satavia Taylor is a transfer from Loyola who plays guard on the scout team but is listed as a forward.

Here’s a look at NIU’s point and shooting guard positions.

Point Guards: The leading candidate to start at point guard will be Pulliam, as she learned on the job from Marke Freeman last season.

“Last year was a big learning year playing under Marke,” Pulliam said. “I’m trying to take a little bit of her game and add it to mine, looking to score more, but also trying to set other people up and make it more of a team game.”

Also seeing time at point guard could be Corral, with a possibility of Alicia Johnson or Ashley Sneed, although they figure more into shooting guard.

Overall, NIU has to expect good things from senior Shelton and an improvement from an overall good freshman season from Pulliam.

Other than those two, the Huskies will need the remaining players to step up into larger roles than they had last season, and will need more performance from their bench after losing Marke Freeman from last season.

“I think they will be motivated to be the best they can be,” Pulliam said. “We learned a lot from Marke and Ebony [Ellis] both. We can take all those things and try to add them into our game. It will be more of a collective game; we will need to team rebound. It’s not just relying on one person anymore. We need to do it as a team.” Grade: C+

Shooting Guards: Senior guard Courtney Shelton, by far and away, has the highest amount of experience playing and in performance.

Shelton scored in double figures nine times last season, including two 20-plus point games.

“[I] definitely want to step it up on the offensive side,” Shelton said. “It is my senior year so I just want to be an all-around solid player and try to make everyone around me better and have the best year I could possibly have.”

Other than Shelton’s experience starting, there is only Danielle Pulliam, who has started in double-digit games from last season.

Pulliam started in 24 of her 30 games played and had a career high of 15 points scored. Pulliam also pulled down 92 rebounds last season, which is the second highest total from all the returning players on the team. Pulliam could see time at both shooting and point guard.

“I’m a smaller guard; one and two will be interchangeable,” Pulliam said. “With Amanda [Corral], we can either play one or two. If somebody else gets it and brings it up, they can outlet the ball to me.”

Also rounding out the shooting guard rotation will be Brittney Callahan. Callahan has two years experience at NIU but has only started three games overall.

Freshman Corral could also see time here, as well as sophomore Alicia Johnson and sophomore Ashley Sneed. Grade: B