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NIU women's baskeball wins home opener

DeKALB – Mississippi Valley State didn’t really have much of an answer for Natecia Augusta.

Northern Illinois’ junior forward finished 5 of 6 from the field on her way to a 17-point effort in the Huskies’ 79-60 win over the Devilettes on Tuesday evening at the Convocation Center.

It’s the first win of the season for the Huskies, who dropped the season opener at Wisconsin-Green Bay on Friday.

“We had a lot of positives,” NIU head coach Kathi Bennett said. “It was a tough game at Green Bay, and I just felt we came back hungry. It was a really good win for us.”

Augusta was also a perfect 7-for-7 from the free-throw line, constantly giving the Devilettes (0-3) trouble in the paint, despite only playing 22 minutes because of second-half foul trouble. She also pulled down 11 rebounds, and is the first Huskie to
record a double-double since Amanda Corral accomplished the feat against Western Michigan on March 6, 2013.

“The guards looked in, and did a good job in and out,” Augusta said. “I thought that played a huge part in my success.”

Corral and Ashley Sneed each added 14 points for NIU (1-1), while Alexis Lindstrom finished with 10. Corral came close to a double-double herself, adding nine rebounds.

It’s the first time since Feb. 6 of last season that the Huskies have had four double-digit scorers.

NIU was without junior Jenna Thorp for the second consecutive game due to a back injury. Bennett hopes to have the Hinckley-Big Rock product back soon.

“She brings a lot defensively, kind of ties us together,” Bennett said. “... I think we’ll be better because this happened. It’s gotten some playing time and some experience for some others.”

The Huskies would get off to a fast start, outscoring the Devilettes, 40-21, in the first half, and Mississippi Valley State never really made it a contest. The Devilettes tried pressing the Huskie offense, but it never really made an impact.

“We practice press-breaking, or press offense as coaches say, in practice, and I think we have a lot of quickness,” Corral said. “We make good decisions in the backcourt.”

The Huskies return to the court on Sunday, when they head up to Madison to take on Wisconsin with a 2 p.m. tip off. NIU head coach Kathi Bennett was an assistant at Wisconsin during the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons.

NIU returns to the Convocation Center Thursday, Nov. 21 when the Huskies play in-state foe Bradley.

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