BOSTON — Revenge was not to be for Northeastern. After losing to Monmouth in the CAA quarterfinals last year, the Huskies surely had their matchup against the Hawks circled on the calendar this season. But when the game finally arrived on Friday, NU didn’t hold a lead after the first quarter and their injury-wracked roster fell 50-41, dropping the Huskies to a CAA record of 4-6.
The game started out strong for Northeastern, who committed only one first quarter turnover and grabbed early leads thanks to three pointers by guards Maddie Vizza and Yirsey Quéliz in the opening minutes. But the Huskies fell behind by end of the quarter and never regained the lead.
They would only score two more three-pointers in the remainder of the game, a major problem for the Huskies, since outside shooting was often their only option to even get a shot up on the rim. Monmouth’s swarming defense and the Hawks’ 2022-23 CAA all-defensive team center Belle Kranbuhl stifled all of Northeastern’s attempts to slice into the paint and battle in the post, requiring their outside shooting to try to pick up the slack. The Huskies finished a disastrous 4-23 from beyond the arc.
Northeastern’s once deep lineup has been decimated by injuries, including long-term ailments for starters Gemima Motema and Asha Parker. The Huskies were able to dress just eight healthy players Friday, forcing depth players like guard Marian Turnbull and forward Sophia Carlisle into major minutes and starters like guard Derin Erdogan into back-breaking workloads. Erdogan played 38 minutes Friday.
“We tell everybody to be ready to step up,” said head coach Priscella Edwards-Lloyd. “So at this point in the season, you have what we have, we are what we are. So we’re just asking folks to do a little bit more. So we’ll continue to get creative with substitution patterns and rotations, but for the most part, they just have to be ready to go.”
In the second half, Northeastern seemed down for the count after falling behind by as much as 14. But thanks to a strong run late in the third quarter, the Huskies trimmed the deficit to just five in the opening seconds of the fourth. From there, Northeastern had opportunities to continue their run, but poor shooting prevented them from ever making it a one possession game.
“We have to be better at manufacturing points from screening and just getting to what we want to get to,” said Edwards-Lloyd. “We can’t really rely on freelancing. Teams are really locking in on [Erdogan], so many other people have to be able to step up and finish plays that they’re capable of taking.”
After Monmouth re-grew their lead to 11, Northeastern made one last comeback attempt, cutting the Monmouth advantage to four this time. But it was too little too late and a clutch shot from Monmouth’s Jania Hall sealed the Hawks victory. Northeastern finished with 31% shooting from the floor to go with 13 turnovers and lost the rebounding battle by 17 boards. Overall, a performance to forget for the Huskies, but with the conference tournament just a month away, they seem no closer to putting together consistent performances to remember.