Women’s Basketball: Huskies drop two versus CAA foes

Women’s Basketball: Huskies drop two versus CAA foes

By Nate Owen

Toughness and heart.

These words are usually associated with the efforts of a winning team, but once again a Husky squad depleted by injuries showed both of these qualities. And once again neither was enough to secure a win, as the Huskies dropped a pair of Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) road games this past week.

The Huskies traveled to Alltel Pavilion Thursday night to face the Virginia Commonwealth Rams and lost 80-74.

Junior guard Shaleyse Smallwood scored a game- and career-high 31 points, and sophomore guard Ashlee Feldman posted 23, in the process becoming the fifth Husky to drain 100 career three-pointers as she went 4-11 from beyond the arc.

Smallwood was the first NU player to score 30 points in a game since Maralene Zwarich accomplished the feat in 2004.

But the efforts of Smallwood and Feldman weren’t enough, as the undersized Huskies simply couldn’t stop the Rams’ inside game. VCU outscored the Huskies 48-26 in the paint and out-rebounded them 46-29, including 18 offensive boards that led to 19 second-chance points.

The Huskies struggled to contain 6- foot, 1-inch junior forward Krystal Vaughn, who posted 16 points to lead the Rams, and 6-foot, 5-inch freshman center Quanitra Hollingsworth, who pulled down 12 boards.

“It’s very difficult to defend [when a team has a size advantage],” La-Force Mann said. “We tried to go into a zone and tried to deny them the post.”

The game started out close, as junior guard Lucia Pablos sank a three- pointer to knot the score at 11 with 15:25 left in the first half. But the Rams started to pull away and held a 40-30 lead at halftime. Pablos finished the night with 11 points and six assists.

The Rams started the second half strong, and less than six minutes in they extended their lead to 54-37.

While NU had no answer for VCU’s play in the paint, the Rams struggled to contain NU’s play on the perimeter. Smallwood proved too quick for the Rams to guard, scoring 19 second-half points as the Huskies made a comeback to pull within 72-70 with 2:29 left.

Vaughn sank several key baskets down the stretch to hold off the ferocious Husky charge, and junior guard Lakea Jones made a pair of foul shots to ice the game with three seconds left, as VCU (9-7, 2-4 CAA) emerged with the victory.

“We’re fighters,” La-Force Mann said. “We work hard and we are in great shape. We never give up.”

Sunday night the Huskies paid a visit to William ‘ Mary and reigning CAA player of the year, junior forward Kyra Kaylor.

Northeastern managed to slow the Tribe in the paint, as they out-rebounded them 28-27, and were outscored just 24-22.

But William ‘ Mary came into the contest at No. 11 in the nation in shooting percentage defense. Unlike VCU, they were able to contain the duo of Smallwood and Feldman, holding them to a combined 7-25 from the floor. Smallwood had 12 points, while Feldman had just nine.

“Not having a good performance by Smallwood hurt us,” La-Force Mann said. “William ‘ Mary did a nice job defending our perimeter.”

Overall the Huskies shot 19-48 and just 4-17 from three-point range.

Pablos led NU with 19 points and pulled down five boards while dishing out three assists. Once again, the Huskies dressed just seven players, and for the third straight game, Pablos, Feldman and Smallwood played the full 40 minutes.

For the Tribe, Kaylor had 18 points and 10 boards to go along with five assists.

The Huskies (3-15, 2-5 CAA) will hit the road again Thursday, traveling to face George Mason at 7 p.m.

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