Armstead, a 6-1 forward who redshirted last season, sank nine of her 10 free throws and made nine of 21 shots from the field, while also blocking three shots.
Sophomore guard Keisha Lee had an impressive line with 18 points, seven rebounds and five assists while sinking eight of 15 shots from the floor.
“Trudy was very, very aggressive. Going into the game, we thought if she played with that kind of energy level, she had a chance to have a big night,” said NSU co-head coach Brooke Stoehr.
“It’s good to have her back. We need that level of aggressiveness from her consistently and it was great to get it in game one. She and Keisha gave us the scoring we needed, especially early when our younger kids were bouncing around a bit.”
After a slow start in which they fell behind by as many as six points, the Lady Demons gradually rallied behind Lee’s 14 first-half points, and moved ahead to stay in the final five minutes of the opening half.
Building a 32-25 lead at the break, NSU rode 20 second-half points from Armstead to blow open the game.
An early 10-2 spurt capped by an Armstead jumper pushed NSU ahead 42-28 four minutes into the second half.
The Lady Demons surged up by 19, withstood a rally by SAU back to within 52-40 midway through the second half, and finally pushed the spread to 20 points, 64-44, with 6:02 to go on a layup by freshman Kourtney Pennywell (nine points, six rebounds, three steals).
The NSU lead grew as big as 28 in the closing minutes while outshooting SAU by 50-24 percent in the second half. The visitors made 30 percent overall.
The Lady Demons sank 44 percent overall, 50 percent in the second half, and had only 12 turnovers.
They drained 73 percent of their free throws and dished 15 assists, seven by last season’s Southland Conference Freshman of the Year, point guard Janelle Perez.
“I thought Keisha and Janelle handled the perimeter very well and had a calming effect, especially with only three turnovers in the first half when our team overall had some jitters,” said Stoehr.
“We really valued the basketball tonight. We’ve got to get better defensively but now we have that first game under our belts, and we have a good film to show and teach from, so it should be a good experience for us.”
NSU played Houston Wednesday and will travel to Waco, Texas to participate in the Athletes in Action Classic.