Women’s basketball: Wilson injured, NU season ends in CAA tournament

By: Chris Tramontozzi, News Correspondent

The women’s basketball season ended this past Friday with a 68-49 loss to Old Dominion in the Colonial Athletic Conference (CAA) tournament quarterfinals.

After the game, though, the players’ minds were not focused on the loss but on teammate Brittany Wilson.

The sophomore guard got tangled with Old Dominion’s Kquanise Byrd while they were both going for a loose ball early in the second half. In the process Wilson fell and slammed her head on the ground, then Byrd fell down on Wilson and her head hit the floor again, causing Wilson to go into a seizure on the court. Play was stopped for 10 minutes as EMTs took Wilson off in a gurney to the hospital.

Wilson was responsive and alert shortly after and was moving her arms as she was taken off the floor. CT scans came back negative and she was released later that night, diagnosed with a concussion.

The Huskies trailed ODU by six points at the time of Wilson’s injury, but the Monarchs soon went on a 14-0 run to make it a 20 point game and put the Huskies away for good.

“It was hard for us to recover from such a tragic event,” head coach Daynia La-Force Mann said. “Being that we are such a young team, it doesn’t take much for us to get rattled and unfocused … We are a family so it takes time to recover from such a shock.”

Captain and senior forward Kendra Walton said the loss was difficult, but the important news lay in the health of Wilson.

“It was disappointing for the season to end the way it did in the Old Dominion game,” Walton said. “But with Brittany getting hurt it took away from us. We were just happy to find out she was OK in the end.”

Northeastern reached the CAA quarterfinals after a win over Georgia State in the preliminary round of the tournament Thursday. Northeastern maintained a slight lead early on until Georgia State mounted a 19-2 run holding the Huskies scoreless over an eight-minute span.

However, Northeastern answered back with an 8-0 run of its own to make it a 27-21 game at the end of the half.

NU came out in the second half and clamped down on defense, holding the Panthers to only 22 percent shooting. Northeastern still did not fare well on offense though as Georgia State pushed the lead to seven before a couple Huskies baskets cut the lead back to four.

Sophomore guard Afryea Tolbert scored seven straight points to give the Huskies a three-point lead down the stretch. NU never looked and won 46-42, advancing to the quarterfinals against the top-seeded Monarchs.

Although Northeastern lost, La-Force Mann did not feel that this season was wasted or that her team underachieved.

“This season bought us great experience on how to win and keep competing … It gave us more experience on giving up leads and the effect it has on us in the games,” La-Force Mann said. “This allows us to be a better program in the future and we’re looking forward to that.”

Northeastern began the 2009-10 campaign with a blowout 105-35 loss to the nation’s top-ranked Connecticut Huskies. The loss created a spark for the team, however, as La-Force Mann liked to call a “Post-UConn aggression” in which NU won its next two games by over 20 points and improved to 5-2 through seven games.

Looking like a force to be reckoned with coming into CAA play, the Huskies hit a speed bump. They lost eight of their next nine games, the lone win coming in a triple overtime thriller against Old Dominion. The Huskies finished up the rest of the season 7-6 including the CAA tournament.

“We had a good year I am happy with the way our season went.” Walton said. “We had some big wins in the beginning and played a lot of teams tough it is really looking up for next season.”

Next season, NU will be without the services of Walton, who will be graduating, along with captain Kim Carr. Walton and Carr have both been on the team for the previous four years along with La-Force Mann.

“My four years here were great,” Walton said. “Lots of memories and friends. We got better as my years went on and I had fun here.”

Carr and Walton finish 15th and 16th respectively on the all-time NU scoring list. Walton is third all-time in Huskies history with 172 3-point field goals made in her career, and her 62 this season were the fifth-best total in a single season by a Husky.

Carr set a Northeastern single-season shooting percentage record by shooting 55.7 percent this season. She also finished top-10 in school history in rebounding and shot blocking for her career.

The seniors are also responsible for helping improve the fortunes of the program overall. After a freshman campaign with just four victories, Carr and Walton helped lead the Huskies to a 10-win improvement in their sophomore year and three consecutive seasons with atleast 12 wins.

“Kim and Kendra were our foundation and our rock in the second half of the season,” La-Force Mann said. “They lead by example. They’ve been with me since they were freshman and they showed the underclassmen how to grow within the program and to be successful.”

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