CHESTNUT HILL — The Huskies have been bested for the first time this season.. After a sparkling 2-0 start to the year, with two in-state wins over Stonehill and UMass, their quest for supremacy over the state of Massachusetts was halted Sunday against Boston College, falling 67-58 at Conte Forum.
Northeastern kept the game close for most of the afternoon. After swapping leads for most of the first quarter, things got away from the Huskies early in the second, as BC grew their lead to as many as 11. But thanks to a furious rally at the end of the half, including two improbable threes from reserve forward Oralye Kiefer, the Huskies brought the game back into contention. This surge culminated in a buzzer-beating jumper by senior guard Derin Erdogan to give the visiting team a shocking one point lead at the break.
Despite the lead, the cracks were clear in Northeastern’s foundation. They had benefitted from a lucky 8-3 advantage in offensive rebounding (and 21-13 advantage in overall rebounding), which dramatically swung back in the Eagles’ favor in the second half thanks to their height advantage over Northeastern. This helped the Huskies stay afloat despite 15 first-half turnovers and significant difficulties getting into the lane.
In the second half, the Huskies would need to adjust to the stifling BC defense to continue to stay competitive. Unfortunately, this did not come to pass, as the Eagles managed to grab the lead back early in the third quarter and hold onto it for the remainder of the afternoon. The turnovers of all varieties — steals, miscommunications, moving screens, charges, you name it — continued to come in spades for NU, who tallied a staggering 31 turnovers for the afternoon.
After the game, head coach Priscella Edwards-Lloyd put it succinctly.
“We talked a lot about their ability to rebound and to turn people over and those are two things that we knew we needed [to deal with] and we just didn’t handle it well.”
Some of these turnovers were thanks to fruitlessly trying to attack the stout interior defense of Boston College until the bitter end, while others came from the Huskies inability to find a secondary facilitator to spell the injured Erdogan. The senior pushed through her right shoulder ailment for 35 minutes, but was clearly not her best self. Whenever she took a minute’s respite on the bench or played off the ball, the play tended to go off the rails, with senior guard and former Eagle Jaelyn Batts proving unable to handle the reins of the offense.
Batts was forced into role of backup point guard because Northeastern’s Yirsy Quéliz, who has emerged as the best bench facilitator in her freshman season, was too much of a defensive mismatch against the Eagles due to her 5’4” stature; the shortest Eagle stands 5’8” and most of their regulars surpass six feet.
As the game wound down to the final minutes, Northeastern fell behind by an insurmountable amount, but continued to fight until the end. Thanks to some missed free throws by BC and some shocking late threes from Northeastern, the Huskies kept the final margin at nine points. One anomaly that resulted from this sequence was that Northeastern finished with a shocking 9-13 shooting line from beyond the arc, including 4-4 from senior sharpshooter Maddie Vizza. This isn’t much solace for the team considering they led the game at halftime, however.
The Huskies have seen that despite their championship aspirations, the team is not quite ready for the big time, but with plenty of nonconference play left to build and grow, there is still plenty to like for Northeastern early in the season.
The Huskies will face Merrimack this Thursday, November 16th, at 8:00pm at the Cabot Center. Peyton Doyle and Jordan Walsh will have the call on WRBB Sports+.