Women’s Basketball: Huskies make statement in CAA

Women’s Basketball: Huskies make statement in CAA

By Jason Kornwitz

The Huskies nearly squandered a 19-point second half lead but held on for a 58-54 victory over Georgia State Sunday at Solomon Court.

Sophomore guard Shaleyse Smallwood led NU with 18 points, senior guard Maralene Zwarich grabbed a career-high 17 rebounds and chipped in 12 points, while junior guard Jody Burrows dished out 10 assists, the most for any Husky since 1999.

The Huskies (7-11, 3-6) picked up their third win in four games after a six-game skid.

As NU continues its slow but steady climb toward the middle of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) conference standings, Smallwood recognized the significance.

“[Conference] positioning is very important because it lets other teams know where you are and how you are doing,” she said. “We’re just trying to make a statement here. Everybody thinks we’re underdogs but we’re trying to let [other teams] know that we’re really not scared.”

Capped by Burrows’ no look pass to a streaking Smallwood, who finished the play with a layup, Northeastern built up an early 14-3 cushion.

Still, the Lady Panthers finished the period on a 6-0 run behind two three-pointers, including a buzzerbeater by Ashley Strickland.

The Lady Panthers heaved up 44 first half shots and hit only eight for a field goal percentage. In the second, the visitors knocked down 16 of 34 shots, for a 47.1 percent clip.

“They were taking some wild shots,” Husky coach Willette White said. “It’s not a matter that they took 44 great shots; they took 44 shots. But we have to give them only one opportunity and then rebound.”

And rebounding, White said, is the key to continued progression.

“In this conference you have to rebound,” she said. “There’s no other choice. That’s our goal – be able to rebound and push it up the floor. Zwarich needs to be more active and Shaleyse needs to get out there a little bit.”

NU began the second on a 13-4 run and built a 43-24 lead just more than five minutes in when Smallwood sank a jumper.

“She’s always a sparkplug for us offensively,” White said. “Especially when she’s penetrating and getting herself to the glass. Our offensive execution needs to get a little better and we need to take better care of the ball.”

After a lackluster first-half shooting performance, Georgia State ripped off a 26-9 run to cut the deficit to 52-50 with 2:11 to go.

With the tension mounting, NU forced a 54-50 lead after a layup by senior forward Quiana Copeland. Thomas committed a crucial turnover that lead to a Burrows free throw which increased the lead to 55-50. A Roegiers-Jensen bucket with 33 seconds to go and Thomas’ jumper with 19 ticks left proved futile as NU hit enough free throws down the stretch to win by four.

Earlier in the week, NU overcame a two-point half-time deficit to beat conference opponent Virginia Commonwealth (11-6, 4-4) 87-80 at Solomon Court behind a 25-point outburst by Zwarich.

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