Women’s Basketball: Northeastern picks up second conference win

Women’s Basketball: Northeastern picks up second conference win

By Nate Owen

The women’s basketball team continued its trek through the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), splitting a pair of conference games this past week.

An injury-riddled Husky squad traveled to face Delaware Thursday night at the Bob Carpenter Center and fell 65-43. Northeastern was only able to dress seven players, as sophomore forward Joanna Ausmann joined the growing list of injured Huskies. She is listed as day-to-day.

The Blue Hens boast the 21st-best defense in the nation, and it was on full display in the first half. Northeastern was held scoreless for the opening 10 minutes and shot 4-20 from the floor as Delaware opened up a 35-12 halftime lead.

“We were intimidated [in the first half],” said head coach Daynia La-Force Mann. “We stopped doing the things we are capable of doing on offense.”

The Huskies showed a pulse in the second half, outscoring the Blue Hens 31-30, as they shot 10-22 (45.4 percent) from the field. Despite the resurgence, Delaware ran its conference record to 4-0 and 13-2 overall with the win.

Freshman forward Kim Carr led the Huskies with 11 points and junior guard Shaleyse Smallwood scored nine.

Junior guard Danatia Baker, a walk-on who has seen sparse playing time this year, put in 16 solid minutes off the bench, recording career highs with five points and seven boards.

Junior guards Melissa Czorniewy and Kyle DeHaven led the way for Delaware with 12 and 10 points, respectively.

NU looked for redemption Sunday afternoon as Drexel traveled to Huntington Avenue looking for its first CAA win. The Huskies made sure they will continue their search, slaying the Dragons by shooting a blistering 63.2 percent in the second half.

Northeastern’s defense pressured Drexel early, leading to a shot clock violation. A Smallwood layup ensued and gave NU a 19-8 lead at 10:05 into the game. The Dragons held strong, though, and tied the game at 24 on a three-point play by junior guard Narissa Suber with 2:17 left in the half.

Northeastern ran into foul trouble in the first half and the Dragons converted, shooting 7-9 from the free throw line as they took a 27-24 lead into halftime.

The Huskies came out strong in the second half. Sophomore guard Ashlee Feldman drained all three of her attempts from beyond the arc, helping the Huskies outscore Drexel 40-26. NU took a 32-31 lead at the 16:25 mark and didn’t look back en route to a 64-53 win.

“We came out with more intensity [then the Delaware game],” Feldman said. “Coach [La-Force] Mann talked to us about our intensity. We got embarrassed [in Delaware].”

Feldman had 19 points on 5-7 shooting from three-point range. She currently ranks third in the CAA in three-pointers per game. Smallwood also had a hot hand, shooting 8-12 from the field to lead NU with 21 points.

The Huskies also adjusted their defense, shutting out freshman forward Nicole McCombs in the paint after she went off for 11 first-half points.

“Every time she got the ball in the second half, we double teamed her and she turned the ball over several times,” La-Force Mann said.

For the game, the NU defense forced 18 turnovers and held the Dragons (5-11, 0-5 CAA) to a 19-52 mark from the floor.

The Huskies played well in the paint, out-rebounding Drexel 32-23. Junior forward Stefanie Hodell continued to be a force under the glass, pulling down a game-high 11 boards to go along with eight points.

Carr chipped in eight points as well as eight rebounds, seven of them on the defensive end. She also guarded the basket with a vengeance, swatting away three Dragon shots. She now ranks sixth in the CAA in blocked shots.

Junior guard Lucia Pablos again helped energize the Huskies on both ends of the court, putting up eight points, eight assists and three steals. Along with Smallwood and Feldman, she played the full 40 minutes of the game.

At the halfway point of the season, La-Force Mann sees improvement in her squad, but stressed the need for them to follow the game strategy.

“Once we follow the game plan, we tend to be successful,” she said. “When we are taken out of a game mentally, we become vulnerable to losing.”

Despite a rough start to the season, the Huskies are one win shy of their conference total of three from last year and are in a three-way tie for sixth in the CAA.

“We had a very tough non-conference schedule [to begin the year],” La-Force Mann said. “[But] we learned through losing how to win. We look forward to continuing [our] success in the CAA.”

Northeastern (3-13, 2-3 CAA) will travel to Virginia Commonwealth Thursday to take on the Rams at 7 p.m.

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