Women’s Basketball: Zwarich injured again, losing streak reaches four in a row

Women’s Basketball: Zwarich injured again, losing streak reaches four in a row

By Jason Kornwitz

George Mason sophomore guard Lateisha Wade hit three big shots down the stretch, out-dueled NU’s leading scorer, guard sophomore Shaleyse Smallwood, and put a damper on a snowy Sunday afternoon for the Huskies at Solomon Court.

Faced with a 10-point deficit at 62-52 with 2:52 to go, the Huskies (7-15, 3-10), on the heels of consecutive three-pointers by Smallwood (18 points) and junior captain guard Jody Burrows, brought some life to the small crowd – for a moment.

But Wade, who scored 21 on 10-of-16 shooting, took a feed from forward Nikkia Slade (11 points) with 48 seconds remaining and finished with a layup to protect a fragile four-point lead, eliminating any doubt of a dramatic Husky comeback win. The Huskies lost, 67-58.

“[Wade’s] tough,” Huskies’ coach Willette White said, repeating herself. “We didn’t really have too much of an answer for her today.”

Nonetheless, the Patriots (9-13, 5-8 CAA) held only a two-point, 36-34 lead at the half, making the second frame meltdown frustrating for White.

“We stopped attacking at about the 12-minute mark of the second half,” she said. “Give them credit, but we were not in the attack mode and we weren’t in the attack mentality. We’ve gone to some people who don’t have a whole lot of experience either. We have three key people out right now.”

Senior guard Maralene Zwarich, NU’s second-leading scorer with 12.2 points per game, sat out her second consecutive game on Sunday with a knee injury. Her minutes were picked up by freshman forward Joanna Aussman and sophomore forward Stefanie Hodell, who missed the first nine games of the season with an injury.

“[Zwarich is] our go-to kid,” White said. “She’s a competitive kid so we definitely miss her, there’s no doubt about that. It just makes things different in terms of our rotation and who’s coming off the bench and all those things.”

The Patriots outscored NU 40-16 in the paint and held a substantial 38-7 advantage in bench scoring. GMU shot 48.3 percent from the field, including 25-39 inside the arc, while the Huskies hit just 33.9 percent.

“[GMU] hit some big shots and we didn’t,” White said. “They had some offensive boards, too, down the stretch.”

The Huskies began the first half, which featured five ties and three lead changes, on a 7-2 run when Burrows (15 points) stole the ball at half court and finished with a layup. But the Patriots took its first lead of the afternoon when Wade knocked down a three to give her squad a 12-10 advantage.

The lead widened to five at 27-22 on junior forward Tracy Ann Holness’ (12 points) jumper with just less than six minutes to play, but Hodell knotted the score at 34 late in the half with a jumper. However, Wade drove the length of the court uncontested to hit a buzzer-beating shot to end the half.

Earlier in the week the Huskies suffered a 58-54 loss to William ‘ Mary (11-10, 7-5). Trailing 34-20 early in the second, NU went on a 16-3 run, capped when freshman guard Ashlee Feldman converted a three-point play opportunity. The 40-39 lead, NU’s first of the night, was short-lived.

That’s because the Tribe forced a lead of its own at 50-45 after a 7-0 run. NU cut it to 54-52 on a Feldman jumper with 30 seconds to go, but it was too late.

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