Naughton scored 14 of her game-high 20 points in the second half as the Blue Demons (2-0, 0-0 Big East) survived a late rally to beat the Bison 77-65 at McGrath Arena.
Felicia Chester set the first half tempo for DePaul with three blocked shots in the game's first five minutes. Freshman Anna Martin added 11 first half points as the Demons led 45-25 at the half.
A three-pointer by Naughton gave DePaul a 52-33 lead with 15:45 left to play. But the Bison were not buried.
North Dakota State went on a 9-0 run to cut the lead to 64-57 with 6:17 remaining in the game.
"Our kids buckled down and responded in the second half," Bison coach Carolyn DeHoff said. "We shot the ball better and defended better."
It was then Naughton who responded, burying back-to-back jumpers and assisting on a layup by Jen Juergens as DePaul went up 70-59 with just under five minutes remaining.
"They're a good team but we needed to stay together better in the second half this early in the season," Naughton said. "We need to have our killer instinct. We just thought that the game was over. We need to have mental toughness to want to beat a team more than we beat them tonight."
Juergens finished with 17 points and Martin scored 15 on 3-5 shooting from behind the arc.
The Bison (1-1) was led by Janae Burish's 13 points.
Next up for DePaul is hosting this weekend's Maggie Dixon Classic tournament at McGrath Arena. Tennessee State and San Diego square off in the opening contest at 5:30 p.m CST on Friday followed by DePaul and Cornell at 7:30. The consolation contest starts at 5:30 p.m. Saturday with the championship game at 7:30.
Notes: Naughton, Juergens, and Martin combined for 52 points...DePaul last faced Cornell in 1984...North Dakota State is now 0-5 versus ranked teams.
#17 DePaul Fends Off North Dakota State
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