Women’s Basketball: New lineup, same result against Hofstra, Drexel

Women’s Basketball: New lineup, same result against Hofstra, Drexel

By Jason Kornwitz

On the boards, in the paint, at the free throw line or beyond the arc. The Huskies just couldn’t keep pace with their opponent in any facet of the game Sunday, or Friday for that matter.

NU (7-17, 3-12) extended its losing streak to six, the second time that fate has befallen the Huskies, who are struggling to find their rhythm in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), which presents bigger, more physical and more experienced competition than the weaker America East Conference did in years past.

Sunday’s 64-57 road setback against Hofstra (16-8, 11-4) saw the Huskies fall behind, 11-0, just three minutes in.

“I think we had difficulty scoring right out of the gates,” coach Willette White said. “[Hofstra] crashed the boards hard, but we found our flow in the second half.”

Unfortunately for the Huskies, it was too late by the second half.

The Pride extended their first half lead at 32-12 with fewer than four minutes remaining on junior center Vanessa Gidden’s layup, who finished with game-highs in points (26) and rebounds (13).

Freshman guard Ashlee Feldman paced the Husky effort with 15 points while junior captain Jody Burrows dished out six assists off the bench.

The drastically different starting lineup featured Siggi Scherpiet (two points), fellow sophomore forward Stefanie Hodell (four points), senior center Erica Sheppard (four points) and sophomore guards Mary-Eileen Gallagher and India Thomas. Gallagher and Thomas went scoreless.

“We just kind of wanted to go with some kids that deserved it,” White said. “That was a decision we made.”

That said, NU hit just eight of 32 field goals in the first half, and was outscored 26-6 in the paint and 18-4 on points off turnovers, resulting in a 40-24 halftime deficit.

“We had a lot of wide-open looks,” White said. “But we just didn’t knock them down.”

However, in the second half, NU reeled off an 8-0 run to cut the lead to 44-34 after sophomore guard Shaleyse Smallwood hit a free throw.

And on the heels of a subsequent 9-2 NU run cut the Pride’s lead to 58-55 with 1:22 remaining, giving the Huskies a chance. But Burrows missed a three to tie the game and a Feldman jumper was off the mark.

The Pride sealed it with free throws down the stretch.

NU outscored Hofstra 14-2 in points off turnovers in the second half and limited the Pride to 10 points in the paint.

“We just kept going at [Hofstra] and we played with a lot of heart,” White said. “Our young kids are getting a lot of experience and we’re learning how to compete in the CAA.”

Friday night, NU traveled to Philadelphia to face Drexel (11-12, 6-8), a team ripe with excellent outside shooters. In the two teams’ previous meeting at Solomon Court, Drexel hit 10 shots from beyond the arc.

In the Dragons’ 81-51 blow-out of the Huskies this time, they hit 18 shots from beyond the arc.

“We gave up too many open looks and they hit them,” White said. “We didn’t defend. It’s that simple. We were hoping [Drexel] would miss, and they didn’t.”

Drexel guard Narissa Suber (14 points) hit four threes and nine other Dragons hit at least one. Sheppard led the Huskies with 13 points and for the first time since Feb. 22, 2003, 10 Huskies put points on the board.

However, that statistic is quite misleading.

NU hit just 32.8 percent of its shots, connected on just 11-19 from the charity stripe, were outrebounded 43-24, tallied just 10 assists and surrendered 40 bench points.

Are the Huskies playing as a cohesive unit?

“Apparently not [Friday] night,” White said.

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