Photos by Kayla Shiao
BOSTON – Northeastern ended the first quarter with an Asha Parker lay-up. It seemed innocuous at first — a solid second-chance shot after an offensive rebound just before the buzzer to give the Huskies a five-point lead over Charleston after one quarter of play. But that shot, combined with the first 15 points of the second quarter, gave the Huskies a 17-0 run in an incredible offensive and defensive stretch that shot them out to a big lead. They led by 18 at the half, and held off Charleston the rest of the way, picking up a 81-70 win at the Cabot Center. It was Northeastern’s highest scoring output of the season.
The Huskies (11-6, 5-2 CAA) hit nearly all their shots during the opening minutes of the second quarter, including 15 points from Kendall Currence in the frame. She ended with a team-high 25 points on a 10-15 shooting performance from the field (5-7 from deep), including a perfect 6-for-6 in the second quarter.
“Could the hoop get any bigger for that kid?” exclaimed Northeastern head coach Bridgette Mitchell. “She played with a lot of confidence and poise and it exuded through our team.”
Northeastern beat Charleston (10-8, 2-5 CAA) to nearly every loose ball, and they hounded the glass with ferocity. They outrebounded Charleston 43-to-27, including grabbing 19 offensive rebounds en route to 21 second-chance points.
“I thought that as a team we were more aggressive, crashing,” Mitchell said. “I thought that we were really trying to get in there and make something happen. I was really impressed with our rebounding efforts, our goal was to be plus eight and we doubled that.”
That rebounding included a huge performance from Asha Parker. The freshman grabbed 11 rebounds off the bench1, with six on the offensive glass. She also added 10 points for her first career double-double.
“She was going in for every rebound, it was amazing,” Mitchell said.
In the second half, as Charleston star Jenna Annechiarico started to hit her shots and help the Cougars claw back into the game, the Huskies matched her shot-for-shot at the other end. Annechiarico ended with a game-high 32 points. For the Huskies, Claudia Soriano scored 12 of her 18 points in the second half, tying her season-high with four threes.
Emily Calabrese also turned in a big performance, with 12 points and six rebounds despite playing through foul trouble.
Charleston pressed Northeastern for most of the second half, and a good bit of the first half. But the Huskies have been in the lab working on their press break since it was exposed against Delaware two weeks ago. Mitchell said the press break was decent against William & Mary Sunday, but it looked even better Wednesday as they broke through the Cougars’ man-to-man press with incredible efficiency.
“We encouraged each other to give teammates space. We tried to get our players to just slow down and catch and look,” Mitchell said. “That was our gameplan, don’t catch and dribble, just catch and look and see who’s open.”
The Huskies also took care of the ball — they averaged over 19 turnovers a game coming into Wednesday. Against Charleston, they only had 12. The Cougars came into the game leading the CAA in turnover margin with +2.5. The Huskies forced the Cougars into 14 giveaways, including four steals from Gemima Motema.
This Huskies win marked their ninth win at the Cabot Center this year, and pushed them to 5-2 in conference play. The 11 point margin also added another interesting wrinkle to their impressive CAA performance. The Huskies have now had a double-digit victory in each of their five conference wins.
Looking down the road as they continue into their CAA play, the Huskies have quite the dangerous road trip in store. Northeastern’s next three games will be against Towson, James Madison, and Hofstra. The Tigers and Dukes each sit at a solid 4-2 mark in conference play and give the Huskies the opportunity to separate from the middle of the pack and join the upper echelon of CAA teams heading into the tournament.