BOSTON — After breaking their six-game losing streak Friday night against UNCW, Northeastern continued to take monumental steps in the right direction in Sunday’s assertive 66-53 victory over Hofstra.
The Huskies shot an exceptional 46% and limited the Pride, a very strong offensive team, to a poor 28% from the floor. Another terrific performance from guard Derin Erdogan and a double-double career game from forward Deja Bristol kept the Huskies in control as NU improved to 6-8 on the season and 2-2 in CAA conference play.
Northeastern began the first quarter in a sprint, as the Huskies notched an impressive 28 points in the first frame alone. NU’s 17-0 run to end the quarter set the tone for the entire game, as the Pride could not keep up with the Huskies’ pace. Despite beginning the game ahead of Northeastern 1-0 following a delayed start that led to a Pride free throw, Hofstra only put up eight points in the entire first period.
With five players standing over 5 feet 11 inches tall, Hofstra is one of the top rebounding teams in the CAA. On the other hand, Northeastern has struggled with rebounding throughout the season, and the Huskies were outrebounded by opponents a frustrating 466-425 times entering Sunday’s game.
Building off their exceptional 43 boards in Friday’s win, NU outrebounded the Pride 37-33. Even though Hofstra senior Brooke Anya leads the CAA with four offensive rebounds per game, the Huskies limited her to just five rebounds (four offensive rebounds). Furthermore, 6-foot-3 center Zyheima Swint, who ranked fifth in the CAA last season with 225 rebounds, only grabbed two boards.
“We really spent a lot of time this week for both games because UNCW and Hofstra were number two and number three in the league in offensive rebounding,” said head coach Priscilla Edwards-Lloyd when asked about Northeastern’s strong rebounding performance. “Just good old-fashioned boxing it out. Boxing out, cleaning up, and finding ways to win the ball.”
One of the main reasons Northeastern limited Hofstra’s rebounding was Bristol’s 12 boards in her double-double that also featured 15 points. Bristol, who stands at 6-foot-1, fought hard and won many balls over the four Pride members at least 6 feet tall (Anya, Bryant, Joseph-Bernard, and Swint).
“I saw a lot of fight from Deja,” Edwards-Lloyd said. “She’s something. She’s a warrior. She really was being resilient, playing through a really physical game. That’s what she is capable of doing. I was proud of her effort.”
The Huskies entered the final period of play with a 51-34 lead. However, a 10-0 Hofstra run to begin the fourth quarter shrank NU’s lead to just seven points. After the concerning start to the quarter, Northeastern called a timeout with just under seven minutes remaining.
Coach Edwards-Lloyd gave the “edited” version of what she said during the break — “I told them that we need to lock in and get back to what we do. We need to defend like we are capable of, and we need to focus.”
After the timeout, Hofstra shot just 2-12 from the floor and went scoreless for the final six minutes. Not only did NU lock down Hofstra on defense, but they caught fire offensively. The Huskies put away the Pride with a 7-0 run led by Erdogan, who had 18 points on 5-13 shooting in the contest.
Northeastern was in foul trouble for the entire day, with three Huskies entering the second half with three fouls. As a result, Coach Edwards-Lloyd looked to non-starters such as sophomores Marian Turnbull and Oralye Kiefer and senior Halle Idowu to play numerous minutes.
“I liked the way people came in and stepped up. Oralye came in and had good minutes. Halle came in. Marian,” she said. “It’s been who we’ve been all year. Folks being ready has been vital, and today they were ready to come in and do beautiful things.”
A great win for the Huskies as they go undefeated for the week. Tune in for WRBB’s next Women’s basketball broadcast on Sunday, Jan. 21, against Charleston at the Cabot Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.