Story by Mike Puzzanghera
Photos by Kayla Shiao
The Northeastern women’s basketball team (3-1) entered their matchup with UMass Lowell (1-3) without two key players but did not let that stop them on their way to a 61-47 victory.
Thin at both guard and forward depth, the pressure was piled on to the starters for the Huskies and they delivered. Four of their five starters finished with double digit points, including 17 from Kendall Currence and a double-double from Donna Ntambue.
After a close first quarter, the Huskies pushed ahead in the second with a late 11-0 run to take a ten-point lead into the half, with Claudia Soriano drilling a three at the buzzer to add the exclamation point.
It was in the third quarter that Currence really showed out and the Huskies began to put the nails in the River Hawks’ coffin. The senior guard tallied seven points, three rebounds and an assist for good measure as the team expanded their lead from 10 points to 20. May tacked on another three-pointer, her third of the game. May is shooting an astonishing 9-of-15 from deep through the first four games, and her floor spacing is invaluable to the Huskies offensive balance. Northeastern’s 24-point third quarter, attacking from all three levels, put the immense potential of Northeastern’s offense on full display.
“We’re tough because Kendall is tough. We’re smart because Katie May is smart. We’re physical because Emily is physical,” Northeastern head coach Bridgette Mitchell said. “Our seniors are doing a really good job of leading us through these games we’ve had in non-conference.”
Despite Northeastern’s hot shooting in the third, the River Hawks put a 9-0 run together at the start of the fourth to cut the lead to 11. All of a sudden, Northeastern was on their back foot and the River Hawks had all the momentum.
“I had a tough conversation with them, because the game isn’t over,” Mitchell said. “We still have to win this five minute segment. And they’re kicking our butts in this five minute segment, and you have to turn it around. And I thought they did a great job responding towards the end of that fourth quarter.”
But the Huskies slowed down the pace late. They ran time off the shot clock, they moved the ball well, and, though they only scored six points in the final frame, they took control of the pace of play and saw out the win.
On this team of stars however, Currence could not steal the show entirely as Soriano continued her dominant freshman campaign with 13 points, five assists and four steals. Soriano’s season averages now sit at just over 12 points, five assists and four steals per game, all while shooting 50% from the field.
The game for the Huskies though, was not all sunshine and buried three pointers. For the second game in a row Northeastern struggled to defend the interior, giving up 21 combined points to Lowell’s forward combo of Sydney Coombs and Denise Solis.
Even though they gave up points down low, their rebounding improved from their game against UNH on Wednesday where they gave up 16 offensive rebounds. This time around they allowed just nine offensive boards and won the rebounding battle, recording 38 boards compared to the River Hawks’ 27.
Still, the paint has been the largest weakness for this Huskies team and if coach Mitchell wants to find success within conference play, they need to shore up their interior.
Northeastern’s next opponent may pose the biggest challenge of their season up until this point. On Wednesday the Huskies will travel all the way out to Chestnut Hill to take on the Eagles of Boston College (3-1) at 2 p.m.