Women’s basketball blows out William & Mary

Women’s basketball blows out William & Mary
Third-year guard Jess Genco scored 11 points against William & Mary Sunday. / Photo by Alex Melagrano.

By Irvin Zhang, news staff

From tip off to the final buzzer, the Northeastern women’s basketball team answered head coach Kelly Cole’s challenge of bouncing back from Friday’s loss to Drexel and handily defeated the William & Mary Tribe 64-46 Sunday afternoon at the Cabot Center.

“It was a tough loss Friday night,” Cole said. “The good thing about the CAA is with Friday-Sunday games, there’s not a whole lot of time to mope. We put a challenge to the kids saying, ‘hey this is an opportunity.’ Right from the tip, we came out and we did what we needed to do.”

Going into the game, the Huskies knew they had to contain the interior scoring of William & Mary with a specific focus on their third-year guard Bianca Boggs, a top-five CAA scorer averaging 16.2 points per game. Right from the get-go, the Huskies clogged the paint, sending double teams every time the Tribe passed the ball into the post or drove down the lane.

“Our game plan was to close up the paint and force them to take outside shots,” said third-year guard Jess Genco. “They’ve got some big players and some drivers and we knew that they wanted to get to the rack, so we had to contain them.”

The Huskies’ defensive pressure forced eight first-quarter turnovers, resulting in eight points and a 17-11 advantage after the first.

The second quarter became a fast-paced battle of runs on both sides; the Huskies started the quarter on a 9-1 run before the Tribe responded with an 8-2 run of their own. The fast pace favored the Huskies, who hit three out of their five 3-point attempts, one of which was a half-court buzzer beater by second-year guard Shannon Todd.

Northeastern was led by fifth-year guard Claudia Ortiz who had a game-high 11 points at the half, and the team headed into the locker room up 33-23.

“I just let the game come to me,” Ortiz said. “I stay in the gym and I shoot and shoot and shoot,” Ortiz said.

The second half was more of the same as Northeastern staved off any runs by the Tribe, hitting timely shots and continuing to disrupt the Tribe’s offensive rhythm. Genco said this game was their best all-around team performance. Cole echoed those sentiments.

“I think it’s a mentality we’ve been working towards, being focused, being locked in to what the game plan is, what we need to accomplish and doing it together for 40 minutes,” Cole said. “This was the most comprehensive game that we’ve had. From start to finish, offense to defense, we were locked in and focused on what we needed to do.”

The Huskies cruised to a 64-46 victory over the Tribe, leading for all but 14 seconds of the game and improving to 4-3 in conference play and 9-9 overall.

Ortiz led all scorers with 19 points followed by third-year forward Gabby Giacone and Genco with 14 and 11 points respectively. Ortiz, who was third in scoring average last year, is currently second in scoring on the team, averaging an improved 12.9 points per game.

“[Ortiz] is a player who’s very dynamic in how she can score,” Cole said. “I think that’s what makes her so dangerous. She can shoot the three, she can get to the rim. And I think more than anything else, everyone else is doing their part so they can’t just try and stop Claudia [Ortiz]. She’s able to do what she does and they can’t put two or three people on her.”

The Huskies hit the road with crucial games this weekend against conference foes at the University of Delaware and Drexel University, where they hope to string together wins in a row, something they haven’t been able to do all of January.

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