Kayla Shiao/WRBB Sports File

Although Northeastern got off to a shaky start in Sunday afternoon’s matchup with Hofstra, they hit their stride come the second quarter of play. The Huskies’ shooters were firing on all cylinders as they ran away with a 68-48 win over the Pride, marking their second consecutive victory.

Coming into the game, the two teams had similar overall records, with the Huskies 8-8 and the Pride 8-9. However, in conference matchups the Huskies had the edge, boasting a 3-2 record against Hofstra’s 2-4. Northeastern entered the game the favorites, and did everything they needed to do on the court to earn that distinction. They rained basket after basket down on the Pride, who played a great hustle game but couldn’t get shots to fall, their 31% clip from the floor paltry compared to Northeastern’s 54.2%.

The Huskies got key contributions from their starting guards, with 16 points from junior Derin Erdogan, and 13 points and two steals from graduate JaMiya Braxton. Another boost came off the bench in the form of junior forward Deja Bristol, who had 16 points and five rebounds in just 18 minutes played with a blistering 89% shooting clip. Senior guard Jaelyn Batts was the main playmaker for the team with a game-leading seven assists to go along with her four points.

“Jae led us with seven assists, and that’s been consistent,” said head coach Bridgette Mitchell postgame. “She’s been able to find her teammates, and so we’ve been able to do some great things offensively.” 

For the Pride, the scoring was a bit more evenly distributed. Freshman guard Emma Von Essen led the way with 13 points and three rebounds, and behind her were junior guard Ally Knights and senior guard Sorelle Ineza, both notching nine points. Junior center Zyheima Swint led the way on the boards, coming away with six points and six rebounds, three of them from the offensive glass Her two steals, leading the team in that regard, completed her well-rounded stat line.

The first quarter was a battle for both sides, as each team struggled to find their footing. Von Essen and Ineza each contributed four points in the quarter for the Pride, but they struggled from behind the arc. The Huskies also had shotmaking issues, suffering their worst shooting quarter in the game at just 38.5%. 

Nonetheless, Northeastern kept it close, with Erdogan leading the way early. She had five first-quarter points, including a corner three that gave the Huskies a 10-7 lead with 3:50 remaining. The Pride responded well, going on a 6-2 run to end the quarter and entering the second as leaders, 13-12.

The second quarter saw the Huskies find a way to take over the game, as they started to defend Hofstra in a full-court press. The Pride had serious difficulty finding their rhythm through Northeastern’s high-intensity defense, and failed to score a single point from inside the three-point line in the quarter, shooting just 25% overall.

The Huskies, on the other hand, couldn’t miss, shooting a fiery 8-11 from the field, with Erdogan and Bristol each dropping six points in the quarter, Erdogan’s coming from two three-pointers. Bristol was an intimidating physical presence in the paint, battling through contact to get high-probability looks from close range. Their pressure caused major dysfunction in the Pride’s playmaking, forcing five Hofstra turnovers in the quarter. By halftime, Northeastern looked to be fully in control of the game, leading 33-24.

The momentum of the game didn’t shift much in the remaining two quarters, as the Huskies continued their run of accurate shooting. The Pride continued to cause problems and fight for offensive rebounds, but their efficiency woes made mounting a comeback extremely difficult. 

Swint battled for two layups, and Knights and Von Essen were each able to convert a three-pointer, but it wasn’t enough to keep up with the blistering Huskies, who surged out to a 20-point lead. A key catalyst for this dominance was the reintroduction of Bristol to the game, who had started the second half on the bench. After coming back in with just 3:22 to play in the quarter, she contributed six points and a big offensive rebound, helping to put the game effectively out of reach for the Pride.

“[Bristol and junior forward Izzy Larsen] brought the intensity on the defensive end, executed things down the stretch offensively, so it was a great all around team effort,” Mitchell said. 

The fourth quarter was more evenly matched, with the Huskies bringing out their bench unit, but in the end the deficit was insurmountable for Hofstra. Knights hit two three-pointers in less than two minutes and Brandy Thomas seemed to find her shooting rhythm, but this was countered by the impact of Northeastern’s bench, as freshman forward Oralye Kiefer and sophomore guard Camille Clement found their strokes. Kiefer went to work in the paint, hitting two layups under the outstretched arm of Swint, and Clement hustled up and down the court, eventually finding space for a three-pointer in transition.

The Pride executed their game plan relatively well, beating the Huskies 13-8 in the offensive rebounding category as well as forcing a few turnovers, but their shooting slump doomed them in the end. The Huskies will be encouraged by their performance, shooting the lights out to win handily, even in a game where they made some mistakes in possession. They move to 5th in the CAA standings, while Hofstra sit 11th, just two spots above last place.

The Huskies will look to recover in time for their home matchup against Towson on Friday at 7 p.m. Justin Diament and Jordan Walsh will have the call on WRBB Sports+.