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NIC IN THE MEDIA: Baker a winner in belated debut as coach


NIC WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Baker a winner in belated debut as coach

Sports writer

COEUR d’ALENE — After being named interim North Idaho College women’s basketball coach last May, Korina Baker knew she’d have to wait a bit to coach her first game.

Then, the season — which normally begins in November — got pushed back to March because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

And got pushed back again, with games finally getting going in early April.

That was everywhere else in the East Region of the Northwest Athletic Conference, except for NIC.

“I really was anticipating the day we’d get here,” said Baker, who played point guard on the 2011 NJCAA championship team at NIC. “We jumped back and forth on whether we’d have a season or not, and then were guaranteed we’d have a season in February.”

Due to spring break, and the Cardinals going into quarantine, they didn’t begin practices until last week in preparation for their season and NWAC opener on Tuesday against Yakima Valley at Rolly Williams Court.

In the game, freshman Maggie Graves scored 20 points and sophomore Rilee Mangun had 16 points and six rebounds as the Cardinals beat the Yaks 62-52.

“The girls came out and fought hard,” Baker said. “I’m proud of them for what they did. We executed some stuff well, and we’ve got some other stuff to work on.”

Mangun hit a 3-pointer with 3:01 remaining to extend NIC's lead to 54-48. Graves hit another with 2:02 remaining to extend the advantage to 54-48.

“It’s a lot different than I expected coming back this year,” said Mangun, the lone returnee from last year's team, coached by Chris Carlson. “But it’s been fun and a good year so far. She (Baker) makes it a point to really understand what’s going on and get to the player’s level. She’s really good at communicating and helping us get where we need to be. We only had a week to prepare for this game and she really gave it her all. Both Korina and Chris are great coaches. But she knows a woman-to-woman level of encouragement and how to read our body language a little better.”

NIC had three players opt not to return after their freshman seasons.

“Two of them thought it was best to begin their careers,” Baker said. “And with a season that’s not guaranteed, I can understand and respect that. We had another girl that wanted to go back home and be there for her sister’s senior year in Alaska. I’ll always put the girls first, and would have loved to have them, but that’s their decision and I respect that. We’re just going to keep going with the seven players that we have here.”

Likewise, Mangun weighed her options before coming back.

“At this time last year, our season would have been over,” Mangun said. “But now, we’re just getting started. It’s been a struggle at times, but I’m glad I stayed. Tonight reminded me about why I stayed and love the game of basketball. Korina was a big influence on me coming back. But it definitely was a toss up between coming back and moving on.”

Ariel Winslow scored 19 points for Yakima Valley (0-4, 0-4 NWAC).

NIC (1-0, 1-0) hosts the Community Colleges of Spokane on Friday at 6 p.m. That replaces a game pitting NIC at Wenatchee Valley on that night that was canceled due to COVID.

The NIC men's basketball game at Wenatchee Valley on Friday was also canceled due to COVID.


Callie Delp 2-7 1-2 5, Abigail Zavala 1-3 2-2 5, Ariel Winslow 8-16 1-1 19, Carla Cardenas 6-10 0-0 16, Lochlyn Hoberg 2-5 3-4 7, Ralynn Lowe 0-0 0-0 0, Raequel Picard 0-5 0-0 0, Yvette Lopez 0-1 0-0 0, Abbie Myers 0-0 0-0 0, Tahila Klebaum 0-0 0-0 0, Jessica Valentinez 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-49 7-9 52.


Maggie Graves 8-14 3-5 20, Rilee Mangun 6-15 1-2 16, Layla Beam 2-4 1-2 5, Kolby Pimperton 5-14 0-0 11, Xuriyah Harry 4-4 0-0 8, Emma Stensrud 1-4 0-0 0, Kennedy LaFountaine 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 26-56 5-9 62.

Yakima Valley 13 13 17 9 — 52

North Idaho 17 18 12 15 — 62

3-point goals — YVCC 7-27 (Delp 0-3, Zavala 1-2, Winslow 2-8, Cardenas 4-6, Picard 0-5, Lopez 0-1, Valentinez 0-2), NIC 5-20 (Graves 1-2, Mangun 3-6, Beam 0-1, Pimperton 1-8, Stensrud 0-2, LaFountaine 0-1). Rebounds — YVCC 36 (Cardenas 8), NIC 35 (Beam 10). Assists — YVCC 13 (Delp 5), NIC 14 (Beam 4). Total fouls — YVCC 11, NIC 6. Fouled out — none.

More Information

Read full article in CDA Press here.

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