TOWSON, Md. — No. 3 Northeastern entered the third quarter of their quarterfinal matchup against No. 6 Stony Brook faintly holding onto a two-point lead.
Just over three minutes later though, the Huskies grabbed a 13-point lead and never looked back, topping an exhausted Seawolves squad 85-68.
“Honestly, I think we ran out of gas,” said Stony Brook head coach Ashley Langford. “I think it is what it is and not for lack of effort. I think we just got tired, and we’ve got a lot of players within our limited rotation with a lot of minutes. It’s hard to go back to back when you’re only playing seven. I think [the team] wanted to do what we were asking them to do.”
Junior forward Shamarla King echoed Langford postgame.
“We fought for three quarters straight, and like Coach said, we did run out of gas,” King said. “They went on a run, and we just couldn’t get out of the drought. But I think we still stayed together. I’m proud of what we did, we still fought till the end and we never gave up.”
In the contest King led her squad with 12 points, 11 rebounds, and a couple of drawn charges.
Her effort though wasn’t able to match the stunning performance from Northeastern guard Derin Erdogan who finished with career highs in both points (27) and assists (10).
After the game the junior had a simple reason for her game.
“I’ve been telling Coach that tournament time, this is different,” Erdogan said. “I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. That’s all I have to say.”
For Erdogan, tournament time truly started at the jump ball.
In the first quarter the Turkish international had 12 points on perfect shooting from both the field and free throw line. Her work allowed the Huskies to be up 23-19 at the end of the opening frame.
On the other side, Annie Warren and Daishai Almond each landed some impressive buckets to combine for 11 points.
The rest of the game though, Northeastern was able to quiet Warren, Stony Brook’s leading scorer entering the contest. Warren was just 2-8 from the field with six points over the final three quarters of play.
In the second, as Warren slowed, Erdogan continued to dominate, scoring nine more points before halftime.
At the mid-game break, the dispersed scoring of the Seawolves and their effort in transition, kept them close. After the first 20 minutes the Huskies lead was just five.
The third quarter started off as a whistle fest, and Northeastern was on the wrong side of it.
In the first five minutes, the Seawolves got to the line six times compared to just two for the Huskies. By the time the quarter was over they had been to the line eight more times than Northeastern.
The issue for Stony Brook though was while they made the same number of field goals and threes as their opponents, they converted just three more free throws than them in the third.
With the lead in the fourth quarter, the Huskies began to capitalize on a tiring Seawolves squad that played just seven players for more than 15 minutes and who were playing the second night of a back-to-back.
The shortened rotation and fatigue from playing Elon the night before left Stony Brook chasing just a step behind on every loose ball race in transition.
Northeastern outrebounded its opponents 14-3 in the fourth quarter and shot 10-14 from the field to win the final quarter by 15 points.
The Huskies will play next on Saturday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. in SECU Arena in Towson against the No. 7 Monmouth Hawks. Justin Diament and Peyton Doyle will have the call.