BOSTON — Despite their assertive 73-66 bounce-back win against Hofstra Friday night, Northeastern could not maintain any momentum versus Campbell.
As one of the newer teams in the expanding CAA, Campbell traveled to the Cabot Center for the two teams’ first-ever matchup against each other. Elongated scoring droughts and difficulty guarding bigs in the paint led to the Huskies’ demise as the Camels won the low-scoring contest 54-43 Sunday afternoon.
Northeastern’s only lead of the afternoon came early in the first quarter when freshman guard Yirsy Quéliz popped an open triple to put the Huskies ahead 3-0. However, the Camels commanded the floor and answered with a dominant 14-0 scoring run. After Quéliz’s three, the Huskies only notched four points in the entire period and shot just 3-13 from the floor before ending the quarter with another five-minute scoring drought.
The second quarter began with promise, as NU jumped on an early 6-0 run. However, another scoreless five minutes and turnover trouble widened the gap between the two teams. Northeastern committed seven turnovers in the first half and four in the second quarter alone, taking away crucial scoring opportunities.
The Huskies shot a poor 25% in the first half, as NU’s turnover trouble and inefficient shooting, paired with Campbell’s late second quarter 6-0 run, gave all the momentum to the Camels going into the final half.
“We have to have other players ready to step up for the weekends,” said Northeastern head coach Priscilla Edwards-Lloyd. “It’s a lot to ask to do this turnaround, and it takes everybody. So we just need focus to be able to play through some fatigue and other folks to be able to step up.”
The Huskies’ turnover struggles manifested even more in the third period. In the third quarter alone, NU turned the ball over five times. Furthermore, Northeastern had no answer for senior center Christabel Ezumah. Going into the second half, she had only four points. However, at 6-foot-2, Ezumah commanded the paint with 13 points in the second half alone. At the end of the contest, she notched 17 points on an impressive 8-10 shooting.
“She’s a really good player. We knew she would be a challenge, and she just got the better of us,” Edward-Lloyd said when asked about Ezumah’s performance.
NU entered the final period of play trailing Campbell by 10 points. Northeastern finished the game shooting 1-for-their-last-8 and had trouble getting stops consistently on defense. The Huskies were ultimately outscored 14-13 in the quarter, with more points in the paint from Ezumah.
“We’ve got to focus on defense,” Edwards-Lloyd said. “That’s all we can do at this point. We’ve got to take care of the ball, and we’ve got to defend.”
Amid the Huskies’ struggles, fifth-year guard Jaelyn Batts went down with an injury after contesting a shot late in the fourth quarter. It appeared that Batts was nursing her right shoulder as she was able to walk off the court on her own power. Her status is currently unknown.
In an otherwise disappointing game where NU celebrated National Girls and Women in Sports Day, junior guard Gemima Motema returned to the friendly confines of the Cabot Center for the first time in 2024 after her five-game absence that led up to her return in Delaware on Friday.
“I think she’s still working her way back,” Edwards-Lloyd said. “She’s got to tighten up defensively and get back into a flow. She’s just working her way back to playing form.”
A tough game for Northeastern as they go an even 1-1 on the week. The Huskies return to action for two away games beginning on Friday, Feb. 2, against Elon and Sunday, Feb. 4, versus North Carolina A&T. They return to the Cabot Center one week later on Friday, Feb. 9, against Monmouth.