By James Duffy, news correspondent
For the first time in over three decades, the Northeastern University (NU) women’s basketball team is off to a 2-0 start.
After routing Boston University (BU) 77-44 in their season opener on Friday, the Huskies snuck out a win in New York against Siena College, 70-67, on Sunday.
For Head Coach Kelly Cole, this season is already shaping up better than the last. After winning just four games in Cole’s first season at the helm last year, NU has already reached half that number in the first weekend of the 2015-16 campaign.
“It feels good, especially when we have a lot of people contributing,” Cole said.
Senior forward Samantha DeFreese, one of the top-ranked players in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), lived up to her reputation in the first game of the season. She led the way at Case Gymnasium with 24 points in the win over the BU Terriers.
The Huskies found themselves trailing early in the first half – down by 10 at one point – before taking a two-point lead just before halftime. After that, they never looked back.
DeFreese did most of her damage in the second half, shooting six of nine for 14 points.
Freshman forward Gabriella Giacone added 14 points of her own in her collegiate debut, and senior guard Kazidy Stewart also reached double digits, knocking down four of eight from the field for 12 points.
A few days later, the Huskies traveled to New York for a matchup with the Siena Saints. They managed to cling to a three-point lead in the waning minutes for the win.
This time, it was sophomore guard Claudia Ortiz carrying the offense, putting up a team-high 19 points in her second game with NU. Ortiz, a transfer from the University of Mississippi, sat out last season due to transfer policies.
DeFreese and Giacone played well again, scoring 14 and 11, respectively, and Giacone contributed six assists and three rebounds.
For her work on the weekend, Giacone was recognized as the CAA Co-Rookie of the Week, alongside Towson University guard Sianni Martin.
With the additions of Giacone and Ortiz to the roster and DeFreese ready to lead the team, the Huskies seem poised to improve upon their 4-25 record from last season.
Cole said she has high expectations for the season.
“Our goal is to always get better, and we do our best not to think in terms of wins and losses,” she said.
The Huskies will be back in action on Thursday when they host the University of Maryland Eastern Shore for their home-opener at the Cabot Center. After that, they’ll hit the road to California to take part in the St. Mary’s Hilton Concord Thanksgiving Classic, along with the University of Missouri and California State University, Fresno.
Photo courtesy Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics