HARRISONBURG, VA – Sunday’s afternoon tilt started with an almost immediate layup by Kendell Currence to get the early lead for Northeastern. But despite the fast start, the Huskies and the Dukes struggled to get anything going offensively, with the next point coming in at six minutes when a foul was called on Claudia Soriano, giving JMU’s Kiki Jefferson the opportunity to get two shots and tie the score for the Dukes. Jefferson, who was actually recruited to JMU by Northeastern head coach Bridgette Mitchell in her previous job, would be the most productive scorer for the Dukes, making eight of their 10 points in the first quarter. A little over hallways through the first, Kendall Currence had already tallied two personal fouls and was taken out of the game. Currence is one ofNortheastern’s best players and normally plays almost the full game, but because of her foul trouble she ended up on the bench for the rest of the first half.
JMU and Northeastern spent much of the second quarter trading the lead, with neither team able to get out of the rut they had seemed to fall into. Meanwhile, Northeastern kept racking up the fouls, with Mitchell having to rank Gemima Motema after her second personal foul. With Currence still on the sidelines, the scoring was spread out, with a couple layups from Motema, as well as buckets from Claudia Soriano and Katie May. Izzy Larson closed out the first half with an impressive three pointer that finally put Northeastern a breathable distance away from the Dukes, going into halftime leading 25-18.
In the second half, something needed to break. Despite what was on the scoreboard, neither JMU nor Northeastern were playing terribly well. Both teams were missing the majority of their shots and were having trouble gaining momentum. Someone needed to step and get something going, and for Northeastern that was Claudia Soriano, and for JMU it was Kiki Jefferson. Jefferson got the scoring started with a layup just a minute in, and Soriano immediately responded with a three pointer. Soriano and various JMU players battled back and forth, with Soriano scoring half of Northeastern’s points in the third.
Bit by bit, Northeastern started to break away, never allowing the Dukes the lead and going into the last quarter of the game eight points in the lead.
Northeastern ran into some foul trouble in the fourth quarter, gathering enough team fouls to have the Dukes go into the bonus, meaning they would be able to score a free throw on every foul made by Northeastern.
Northeastern played aggressively and ended up giving away quite a few free throws to JMU, something that could have ruined their chances at a win if not for their excellent defense. JMU ended up only scoring on a basket not on the free throw line, a layup by Jefferson. Meanwhile, Northeastern made shot after shot, scoring a total of 16 points and running away with the game to cement their place as third in the CAA.
Northeastern will play Hofstra on Feb. 6 after a much needed break. WRBB’s Jordan Walsh will have the write-up after the game.