Story by Peyton Doyle and Mike Puzzanghera
BOSTON — For the second time in the first three games of the season, a Northeastern women’s basketball game was decided in the closing seconds. In the opener, the Huskies defended a one-point lead to prevail over the Terriers, and in Northeastern’s third matchup, Boston College halted the dogs on their final possession to come away with a 64-59 win Wednesday morning at Matthews Arena.
In both contests the Huskies faced what many considered coming into the season superior opponents, and in both instances NU looked like the better team for long stretches. The Huskies held their own against the ACC’s Eagles, taking a four-point lead into the fourth quarter after a strong end to the third.
On Wednesday, the final possession for the Huskies seemed perfect, coming out of consecutive timeouts down by three with 19 seconds left on the clock and the ball in the hands of star guard Derin Erdogan. The issue came when Erdogan took an above the break triple with 14 seconds showing on the clock and it bounced off the rim.
Rather than tying the game with a last second chance, a BC rebound gave them back full control of the game. With an Eagles possession and seven seconds left the game still wasn’t over however as freshman guard Taina Mair missed both her free throws. Miscommunication and a mad rush to get down the floor however left Mair without a Husky boxing her out and she gathered her own rebound to seal the contest.
The Eagles closed the game on a 6-0 run as the Huskies faltered late, something that head coach Bridgette Mitchell and her staff are taking note of. Northeastern did not score for the final 2:49 of the game and committed three turnovers during that stretch.
“We saw moments,” Mitchell said. “We have to be able to put together 40 minutes. We can’t have a 26-minute game where we play well, a 32-minute game, we have to be able to consistently put together 40 minutes of us performing at a high level and to the best of our ability.”
As Mitchell noted, there were strong stretches of play for Northeastern in the game, they led for 19 minutes and 45 seconds of gametime compared to just 15 and a half minutes for Boston College. Their leads came from taking over the transition game and overall just out running the Eagles for long stretches in the middle two quarters.
Erdogan and sophomore guard Gemima Motema led much of the fast-paced play — the duo finished with 36 points, seven assists and four steals between them. Graduate student guard JaMiya Braxton also did well to get the Huskies’ transition going, swiping three steals in the matchup and continuing to show her defensive prowess.
But the Eagles dominated the interior throughout, finishing with a 38-21 margin on the glass. Sophomore Maria Gakdeng grabbed 15 of those rebounds, including a big offensive rebound and putback late to put BC up by one. Mair also added eight rebounds and four assists for the Eagles.
Though the Eagles shot just 5-21 from deep in the game, they hit the biggest one — a late triple from freshman guard T’Yana Todd with four minutes to play that gave the Eagles a cushion.
“Coming into the game, they weren’t shooting the highest percentage from three,” Mitchell said. “They hit some big ones and then they outrebounded us. They were plus-17 on the boards, and that’s something that we have to do a better job of.”
The next matchup for the Huskies will give them an opportunity to breathe a little easier as they travel to New Hampshire to take on the Wildcats. In Mitchell’s first contest with UNH as a head coach last season, her squad handled the cats 78-52 at the Cabot Center. Mike Puzzanghera, Jordan Walsh, and Justin Chen will be broadcasting on WRBB Sports+ for the 1 p.m. tipoff.