In the final game of their nonconference slate, boosted by the additions of three players recently cleared for game action, Northeastern used an all-around effort to pull away from in-state opponent Stonehill for a 75-64 victory.
The Huskies got three players back on the court Tuesday night. Graduate student guard JaMiya Braxton made her first appearance since the St. Pete Showcase over Thanksgiving weekend, senior guard Jaelyn Batts made her Northeastern debut after transferring from Boston College during the offseason, and senior guard Anna Boruta returned for her first minutes since February 2021 due to injury.
In the Huskies’ first-ever meeting against the Skyhawks, who are in their first year as a Division I program, four Northeastern players scored in double digits. Starting guards junior Derin Erdogan and sophomore Gemima Motema had 10 each, while forwards sophomore Asha Parker and junior Izzy Larsen dropped 14 and 11, respectively, which are both career highs.
Stonehill jumped out to an 8-4 lead in the first few minutes of the game, with two threes from fifth-year guard Emily Bramanti and a long two from senior guard Mia Kelly forcing Northeastern head coach Bridgette Mitchell to take an early timeout. The Huskies were playing in a zone, which the Skyhawks exploited through skip passes and screens to get players open on the perimeter. Northeastern countered Stonehill’s zone by feeding the ball to their forwards under the basket, particularly Parker, whose drop steps the Skyhawks had no answer for. Parker’s career-high performance is even more impressive considering she got injured in the first half and wound up playing just 19 minutes in total.
“[Parker’s] teammates did a great job of finding her,” Mitchell said. “She really concentrated and finished today.”
Batts, meanwhile, came off the bench in her first game as a Husky and made an immediate impact, picking off a Stonehill pass and netting a transition layup.
Northeastern did a good job containing the star guard Bramanti in the second quarter, limiting her to 0-for-2 from the field. The Huskies’ defensive strategy throughout the game, especially in the second half, was to play physical and doubleteam the ballhandler up high. At times, the referees were rather lenient in terms of the contact they allowed.
In that second half, Northeastern came out of the gate with a new energy on the offensive end as well, continuing to take it to the basket. After going 1-for-10 from beyond the arc in the first half, the Huskies did not attempt a single three in the third quarter, which is where a 20-4 extended run started that gave Northeastern a lead they would maintain for the rest of the night.
Although the Skyhawks cut the deficit to as little as five in the closing minutes, the Huskies were able to hang on, and their bench players had no problems breaking the press in the final minute.
To underscore Northeastern’s interior dominance, the Huskies finished the night with 56 points in the paint, a season high, outscoring Stonehill by 34 in that area. Northeastern did a good job with ball movement, something Mitchell was emphasizing the entire game.
“Stonehill’s a really talented team. They’re going to make some noise in the NEC, that’s for sure,” Mitchell said. “It was awesome seeing everybody out there, to have Anna back, Jaelyn back playing with us, they brought the energy. It was really a sight to see with everybody playing together and moving the ball, sharing the ball, and rebounding. … Really proud of the team and how we finished nonconference.”
The Huskies will next take to the court Dec. 30, as they visit Monmouth in their CAA opener. WRBB will have written coverage on our website.