Huskies Welcome Devilettes in Home Opener

GO HUSKIES Senior Alicia Johnson scored eight points in the Huskies loss at Green Bay, going 6-for-6 at the free throw line
Senior Alicia Johnson scored eight points in the Huskies loss at Green Bay, going 6-for-6 at the free throw line

Nov. 11, 2013

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Game 2
Mississippi Valley State (0-2) vs Northern Illinois (0-1)
Tuesday, November 12 | 7 p.m. | NIU Convocation Center
Radio: 98.3 FM/1360 AM WLBK,
Play-by-Play: Andy Garcia
Twitter: @NIUscores | Gametracker:

Matchup Details
First ever meeting

The NIU Convocation Center will offer free parking for all basketball home games this season. Fans are asked to park in the C-2 and C-3 parking lots. For more details on other changes to gameday and to view a detailed parking map of the area, visit

Northern Illinois University takes on Mississippi Valley State for the first time ever on the hardwood Tuesday night at the NIU Convocation Center, marking the first time both teams have face each other. It will also be the first SouthWestern Athletic Conference team the Huskies have played. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

Though the Huskies have never faced a school from the SWAC, NIU has played two games against Historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCU) in its history. Northern Illinois is 2-0 versus HBCU teams, last defeating Norfolk State Dec. 29, 2012 at the Cavalier Classic, 69-38.

The NIU Huskies opened their 2013-14 season on the road at Green Bay, the 15-time defending Horizon League champions. The Huskies matched the energy put out by the Phoenix through the first eight minutes of the game, carrying a 12-11 lead into the second media timeout of the half. After a series of fouls and missed shots by the Huskies, Green Bay built a 43-15 lead. UWGB finished the game 29-for-57 (.509), including 5-of-12 (.417) from behind the three point line during the first half. NIU would fall 78-44 to Green Bay.

Junior Amanda Corral led the Huskies with 12 points in the game with four assists, two steals and a block. After only one practice since injuring her hand early in preseason, junior transfer Alex Dumoulin played an impressive 25 minutes off the bench and scored eight points, including a three-pointer, with two steals, a block and three rebounds. Senior Alicia Johnson closed the evening flawlessly at the free throw line, 6-for-6, to close the game with eight points.

Under Head Coach Kathi Bennett, Northern Illinois is 2-1 in home-openers. The Huskies dropped their first opener under Bennett at the Convocation Center last season against perennial NCAA Tournament qualifier South Dakota State, 59-58.

Mississippi Valley State enters the game 0-2, after opening the season in Toledo’s Glass City Tournament. The Devilettes opened the year last Saturday versus Villanova, a 2013 NCAA Tournament opponent, falling, 87-53. MVSU’s Jasmyne Sanders scored 17 points in the contest, going 6-for-8 from the field and 3-for-3 from behind the arc. The Devilettes followed up Sunday with a contest against host Toledo and fell, 95-48. A’Shanti Weathers led the Devilettes scorers with nine points in the game. Defensively, MVSU allowed 42 points in the paint to the Rockets.

The tournament was the first two legs of an 11-game road trip for Mississippi Valley State as it does not play its first home game until the conference opener against Arkansas-Pine Bluff January 4.

Last season, MVSU finished with a 17-15 overall record and a 12-6 SWAC record to finish second. The Devilettes would make a run through the Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament and advance to the championship game, where they fell to Prarie View A&M in four overtime periods, 100-87. Joncyee Sanders is the top-returning scorer from last year’s squad, with 8.8 points per game. Her twin sister, Jasmyne, scored 6.9 points per game.

Mississippi Valley State is a veteran team, they do start a freshman, but they have two seniors, twins (Jasmine and Joncyee Sanders), and then they round out the linup with a couple juniors. They’re very athletic, long, lanky, and they will look to push transition offensively and defensively. They lost two games by larger margins and we lost to Green Bay in the same aspect. We’re looking at coming back on our home court and taking care of what we need to take care of this game hit our key points for the game.

Assistant Coach Debbie Whitman, a member of the NIU Hall of Fame with the 1989-90 women’s basketball team, is in her first season as an assistant and in her second season with the program after serving the 2012-13 season as the Director of Operation.

Redshirt junior Danny Pulliam returned to the Northern Illinois squad Friday at Green Bay after only appearing in seven contests during 2012-13 due to complications from a meniscus tear and microfracture surgery in 2011-12 that only allowed her to play in five games that season. In 26 minutes off the bench, the point guard from Indianapolis, Ind. accounted for four assists, four rebounds, two steals and a block. In her seven games last season, Pulliam accounted for almost 20 percent of NIU’s assists when she was on the floor.

The Northern Illinois defense played with pace and grit last Friday at Green Bay, recording nine steals while the Phoenix had possession, compared to UWGB’s five in the contest. The Huskies amassed nine steals twice in 2012-13 but also recorded 11 on two occasions, last doing so in the Mid-American Conference Tournament First Round at Buffalo March 9, 2013.

Junior Amanda Corral has been the Huskies most-consistent scorer since her arrival in 2011-12 at Northern Illinois University. In 61 career games played, Corral has reached double-digits in scoring 39 times (.639). The Hobart, Ind. native has averaged 11.3 points in her NIU career, ranking her 19th all-time at NIU. The junior also has three career double-doubles in her career.

After spending time the last two seasons at point guard, junior Amanda Corral is back at her natural position of shooting guard. Injuries at various points over the last two seasons forced Corral to run the point. Despite being out of position, she averaged 12.7 points per game and 2.1 assists per game in 2012-13.

Amanda Corral led the Huskies in points, rebounds and assists per game last season, only one-of-two players in the Mid-American Conference last season to do so and is the only returning player in the MAC to accomplish that feat in 2013-14. She averaged 12.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.1 helpers per game. Kent State’s Tamzin Barroilhet also led her team in the aforementioned categories last season.

Junior Natecia Augusta started in the post for the Huskies last Friday night at Green Bay, but unfortunately found herself in foul trouble early in the game, and eventually, fouled out of the contest in the second half. Classmate Alex Dumoulin stepped in for Augusta in the post and collected eight points, three rebounds, two steals and one block in her effort. What makes her performance so remarkable was the fact that she had only practiced on Thursday last week as she had just been cleared for practice due to a hand injury, suffered early during the preseason.

MEET Alex Dumoulin  
Junior transfer Alex Dumoulin is used to being a member of a team as she is one of 10 children in her family, six girls and four boys. Dumoulin grew up playing basketball with her siblings and other children that worked on the family farm in Hampshire, Ill. The forward was an all-american at Elgin Community College and grew up playing on the same team with her older sister, Cassie, who also played basketball at Elgin and was an all-american. She went on to play at Illinois.

Senior Alicia Johnson has been one of the Huskies top-performers at the free throw line in her four years at Northern Illinois. Last Friday night at Green Bay, Johnson was 6-for-6 in front of the Phoenix student section. As a junior in 2012-13, she was 9-for-10 at the charity stripe. Dating back to her sophomore year, Johnson has made 20 of her last 21 attempts at the free throw line (.952). In her four seasons at NIU, she owns a .756 career free throw percentage.

Despite their 7-23 record in 2012-13, the Huskies and their famed “pack defense” were fourth in the MAC last season in scoring defense as NIU allowed 59.5 points per game.

Most college basketball fans know of the pack defense, made famous by Dick Bennett and the rest of his family coaching tree, including NIU Head Coach Kathi Bennett. This season, Kathi added a twist to the family’s bread and butter, adding more pressure to opposing offenses to create turnovers and allow the team to play more of a transition type of offense. Northern Illinois scored 76 points in their lone exhibition of the season.

Thanks in part to the NCAA’s new rule, allowing newcomers to work out with the team in the summer, the Huskies welcomed four freshmen to campus. Three of those freshmen, Amber Gray, Jazmine Harris and Ally Lehman, got their first taste of collegiate basketball last Saturday versus Lewis. Lehman scored 10 points in the first half of the game on four field goals and two free throws. Harris added three points to the Huskies tally of 76 points.

Gray, Harris and Lehman all played in last Friday’s contest at Green Bay. Harris played in 16 minutes, while Lehman appeared in 27 minutes.

Head Coach Kathi Bennett stated numerous times during the preseason to various media outlets that “this season’s schedule is the toughest we’ve played since I’ve been here.” Take into the consideration the strength of the Mid-American Conference this season and the proof is in the pudding. Five of the Huskies opponents, including three from the MAC, are ranked in’s Preseason Mid-Major Top-25 poll. Green Bay entered the season No. 4 with 12 first place votes, while South Dakota State is No. 8. Mid-American Conferences foes Toledo and Central Michigan are ranked Nos. 5 and 9, respectively, and Bowling Green rounds out the poll at No. 25.

Junior Natecia Augusta made big strides last season in her game, improving her scoring from 3.9 points as a freshman to 6.2 points as a sophomore. After a busy summer in the weight room to improve her strength and fitness, Augusta will be looked upon to take bigger role in the post in 2013-14

Last season, Natecia Augusta led the Huskies in field goal percentage with a clip of .528 on 127 total shots. Not only strong from the field, the then-sophomore also produced at the free throw line with a .789 mark. She twice went eighth-for-eight at the charity stripe last season, and also produced eight flawless games from the line. She scored six times in the post versus Lewis in exhibition play, closing the day with 13 points.

Sophomore Alexis Lindstrom found success for the Huskies last season as a three-point shooter, going 31-for-73 (.425) from behind the arc. Her field goal percentage in three point range was tops in the MAC last season, .080 ahead of Central Michigan’s Kerby Tamm.

Last Saturday against Lewis at the Convocation Center, Alexis Lindstrom hit four three-pointers in the first half to lead Northern Illinois in the half with 12 points. She would close her afternoon with 14 points.

Over the summer, the Huskies added two new assistant coaches in Debbie Whitman and Latrell Fleming. Whitman, a member of the Northern Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame, was promoted to assistant status after spending last season as the team’s Director of Basketball Operations. Fleming came to NIU after spending a year at UW-Milwaukee. Also new in 2013-14 is Graduate Assistant Anya Covington, who played four seasons at Wisconsin, her last two as team captain, before playing a year in Germany for the Rhein Main Baskets.

Northern Illinois women’s basketball can be followed in a myriad of ways throughout the season. Audio of all of NIU’s games will be available for fans to listen to live and on on-demand (subscription required). Play-by-play man Andy Garcia, now in his third year, will be on the call for all of NIU’s games this season and is joined by former Huskie assistant coach Ethel Gregory during home games. Fans can also follow the team on Facebook and Twitter. Like “NIU Huskies” on Facebook and follow @GoHuskiesWBB and @NIUathletics on Twitter. Gameday updates and scores from all women’s basketball games can be followed on Twitter @NIUscores.

The Huskies will return to Wisconsin Sunday November 17 when Northern Illinois takes on Wisconsin at the Kohl’s Center in Madison. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. Central. Head Coach Kathi Bennett was an assistant coach for the Badgers for two seasons before coming to NIU and graduate assistant Anya Covington was a four-year letterwinner and two-time team captain at Wisconsin.



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