Kayla Shiao/WRBB Sports File

DURHAM, N.H. — After a hard-fought loss at home against Boston College, Northeastern looked to right the ship against a shorthanded New Hampshire. Despite the cold day, the Huskies rolled into Durham on fire from a distance and held off a second-half UNH surge en route to a 63-51 win.

The Huskies started off the game with a flurry from threes, moving the ball well to stretch the zone defense UNH threw at them to get good looks. Sophomore Gemima Motema started the Husky scoring with a pair of jumpers — a two and a three — and junior Derin Erdogan connected from distance not long after, giving Northeastern an early 8-2 lead. The pair of guards paced the balanced attack, finishing with 10 and 15 points respectively. 

Guards sophomore Camille Clement and junior Amyrah Sapenter also joined the three-point barrage off the bench, as the Huskies did all their scoring from the outside. Despite their opponent’s hot hand, the Wildcats were still in the game thanks to a quick four-point play — a jumper from junior guard Avery O’Connor and a steal and layup on the inbound by freshman Breezie Williams — to close the quarter.

However, the next frame was a different story. The Huskies continued to take advantage of the open looks they were able to generate from their passing and started the second quarter off on a 15-0 run. During this stretch, Erdogan, Clement, and graduate student guard JaMiya Braxton hit triples. On the other side of the floor, junior forward Deja Bristol drew two early charges to kill any momentum UNH had from the previous quarter, and the tenacious Husky defense kept the Wildcats off the board until 3:07 left in the half. 

O’Connor broke the scoring drought with a jumper. After trading buckets for the next three minutes, Erdogan hit a buzzer-beater three in transition to polish off the 22-8 advantage Northeastern had in the quarter. Thanks to 9-for-18 shooting from three, the Huskies were up big, 44-22, going into the half.

“We were moving the ball really well and were in an attack mindset coming out of the game,” said head coach Bridget Mitchell. “It was really important to be in attack mode.”

All good things, unfortunately, have to come to an end, and that was the case in the second half. While Northeastern’s second unit started off the half forcing two consecutive back-court violations, they struggled to keep up on the offensive side of the floor. The Huskies turned the ball over nine times this quarter and only had seven field goal attempts (connecting on three) as they tried attack the basket, contrary to them bombing from deep in the first half. The Wildcats’ Williams also had two of her three steals this quarter as the Huskies offense seemed to come to a halt. 

“UNH is a really scrappy team … and forced us into 20 turnovers because of that pressure,” Mitchell said.

Quality looks were generated from inside, but bigs junior Halle Idowu and freshman Oralye Kiefer were not able to convert on layups and capitalize on Northeastern’s size advantage. 

“It was more of what we wanted to work on,” Mitchell said of the change on offense. “We wanted to play on all cylinders, play inside and out in today’s game.”

UNH’s offense found its rhythm though, as O’Connor and junior guard Brooke Kane hit threes to open the Wildcats’ scoring from deep in an otherwise low-scoring and uneventful quarter.

Going into the closing quarter, Mitchell put Erdogan, who missed most of the third with foul trouble, and Motema in hopes of getting an early knock-out punch. UNH had closed the deficit to 48-35 in the third quarter and continued to chip away early in the fourth. Sophomore guard Belen Morales-Lopez got things going by converting an offensive rebound for a putback and hit two free throws soon after for five of her seven points on the day. 

The Huskies were able to keep up with another three from Erdogan and a fast break layup from sophomore forward Asha Parker. After a couple minutes of sloppy turnovers from both sides, Erdogan hit a transition three, her fifth of the day. 

“Derin is a playmaker,” Mitchell said. “She makes plays for her teammates, she finds other people well, and she knows moments where it’s her time to shoot.”

Kiefer then connected on a layup, forced a steal in transition, and led the break and dished it to Braxton for an easy bucket to cap off a quick 7-0 run. That put Northeastern up 60-43, stifling any hopes the Wildcats had. The Husky starters then were lifted with 1:44 left and UNH played the foul game as the contest came to a close.

The Huskies will matchup against Maine next in Orono on Monday. Peyton Doyle and Mike Puzzanghera will have the call for the 7 p.m. tipoff.