Women’s Basketball: Smallwood notches 1,000th career point

Women’s Basketball: Smallwood notches 1,000th career point

The women’s basketball team ended its eight-game skid Thursday night, downing Georgia State 64-42 before falling to then-No. 25 James Madison 71-57 Sunday. Junior guard Shaleyse Smallwood netted her 1,000th career point as a Husky in the loss.

Thursday night featured one of the Huskies’ most complete defensive efforts of the year, as the Huskies limited GSU to just 16 second half points on 8-31 (22.6 percent) shooting in the second-half.

The game started out looking like a repeat of the teams’ previous meeting, a 76-51 Husky road loss Jan. 4. Georgia State jumped out to a 6-0 lead to start the game and didn’t miss a field goal until the 17:06 mark, but NU hung close and eventually took a 12-10 lead on a layup by freshman forward Kendra Walton with 14:04 left.

The Huskies’ fast-break offense was on full display when junior guard Lucia Pablos took a pass from senior point guard and captain Jody Burrows and streaked down the court for a wide-open jumper to give NU a 19-16 lead with 10:22 left.

The last 2:53 of the first half saw no scoring, as the Huskies slipped into the locker room with a 28-26 lead.

Northeastern came out firing in the second half and built a 40-28 lead with 13:49 left on a three-pointer by Pablos. Pablos scored 13 points in the second half en route to tying her career-high of 21 points in the game.

But the big story of the second half was the suffocating Husky defense. After getting so many wide-open looks under the basket in the first half, Georgia State found those gaps filled with defenders as NU forced the Panthers to take more long-range shots.

“[We] covered their three-point shooters [and they] had the wrong people taking shots,” said head coach Daynia La-Force Mann.

Overall, Georgia State (15-11, 7-8 CAA) shot just 2-11 (18.2 percent) from three-point range, including laying a goose egg in the second half with an 0-5 performance.

NU didn’t put on a shooting clinic either, draining just 5-27 (18.5 percent) from beyond the arc for the game, largely because of the struggles of sophomore guard Ashlee Feldman, who was just 1-13 on the night, including 0-8 from three-point range.

“She did some good things on defense,” La-Force Mann said of her sharpshooter. “People look to target her, [we] need others to step up.”

Those others consisted of Walton and junior forward Stefanie Hodell. Walton scored seven points in just 13 minutes of action, while Hodell posted her third double-double of the year with 11 points and 10 boards. With sophomore forward Joanna Ausmann returning after missing 10 games with an injury, La-Force Mann had her deepest arsenal since December.

Despite their erratic shooting, the Huskies held on to the ball, turning it over just nine times while converting 23 Panther turnovers into 19 points.

For the Panthers, sophomore center Marcquitta Head, reigning CAA Player of the Week, was limited to just seven points and 10 boards after averaging 17 and 12 the week before.

Pablos and Smallwood effectively quarterbacked their team, combining for 13 assists and just three turnovers. Smallwood added 19 points and six rebounds.

After their strong performance against Georgia State, the Huskies came out with a lackluster effort against James Madison (24-2, 15-0 CAA).

“We lacked intensity throughout warm-ups and that carried over into the game,” Smallwood said.

The Dukes took a 40-22 lead into halftime. Although the Huskies battled back in the second half, outscoring JMU 35-31, it wasn’t enough.

Despite their sluggishness, the Huskies still limited JMU to its lowest offensive output in 12 games and a 14-point improvement over the last meeting between the two.

“We adjusted our zone defense [but] they still shot the ball well,” Pablos said. “Inside they killed us.”

A lot of the Dukes’ success inside was due to senior center Meredith Alexis, who finished with 25 points and 13 boards. In two games against NU, the Husky-killer has averaged 23 points and 15 rebounds.

With 15:10 left in the game, Smallwood missed a layup, then collected the ball back on a JMU turnover and dropped it in for her 1,000th and 1,001st career points. With the basket, she became the 13th NU women’s player to reach the 1,000-point plateau.

“She’s done a wonderful job – I’m looking forward to her continuing her success,” La-Force Mann said.

In the game, Smallwood finished with a team-leading 21 points. Pablos had 17, while Hodell pulled down 12 boards. NU was out rebounded 50-27 and outscored 40 to 24 in the paint.

Tomorrow the Huskies will travel to Philadelphia to take on the Drexel Dragons at 7 p.m.

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