Women’s basketball dominates Charleston

Women’s basketball dominates Charleston
Third-year guard Jess Genco drives past a defender. / Photo courtesy Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics

By Irvin Zhang, staff writer

The Northeastern women’s basketball team used a strong third quarter to guide themselves to a 59-37 victory against the College of Charleston Cougars at the Cabot Center last Friday night.

The Huskies were aggressive on both sides from the tip, pressuring the Charleston guards on defense and attacking the basket on offense. The Huskies forced six turnovers in the first quarter and converted those fastbreak opportunities into eight of their 13 first-quarter points.

The Huskies and Cougars fought to a stalemate in the second quarter with both teams shooting above 40 percent from the field. The Huskies headed into the locker room up by six, 26-20. Third-year guard Jess Genco led all scorers with 10 points at the half.

Third quarters have been an Achilles heel for the Huskies, as they’ve struggled coming out of the half in the past. But this time the Huskies started the third quarter with high energy, showing up especially in their defense— their full court press and 2-3 zone held the Cougars scoreless for more than half the quarter.

“We’re good at [the 2-3 zone],” head coach Kelly Cole said. “[Charleston] is not a good three-point shooting team. For us, it gave us a chance to force them to score from the outside and keep them off balance.”

Their work on the defensive end translated into quality looks on the offensive, leading the Huskies to an 11-0 run to start the second half.

“It’s been a focus of ours to come out strong in the third quarter,” Genco said. “Seeing us execute that on the floor was icing on the cake.”

In the fourth quarter, the Huskies stretched the lead to as much as 23 points, ultimately cruising to a 22-point victory. The Huskies dominated the Cougars in most of the major statistical categories, specifically rebounds, turnovers and free throw attempts.

“Those have been our three big things all year long,” Cole said. “I think we’ve drilled it into our kids’ heads that if we can do it on the boards, take care of the ball and get to the foul line, then we’re gonna be in every game.”

Although the Huskies shot well from the field overall, they shot an abysmal 21.7 percent from behind the three point line, a place where they usually find success.

“[The Cougars] were pretty aggressive especially on the perimeter,” fourth-year forward Loren Lassiter said. “They were jumping the lanes a lot so we weren’t getting a lot of the shots that we were looking for.”

The Huskies held the lead for all but 59 seconds in the game. Cole said she praised the players for their focus and attention to detail on both sides.

“We’ve been talking a lot about being focused for 40 minutes,” Cole said. “I think we’re finally starting to understand what that means. This is probably the first time in my four years here that we got a lead and we kept pushing and never let up. That just shows the maturity and the confidence of our players.”

The Huskies look to continue their strong play against Drexel University in their second match of a three-game homestand on Jan. 19, and will host William & Mary the following Sunday.

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