By James Duffy, news correspondent
After going undefeated in its first three games, the Northeastern University (NU) women’s basketball team slowed down over the past two weeks, splitting its last four games to bring its record to 4-2 on the season.
The Huskies kept their hot start going in their home opener, handily defeating the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore 60-49 on Thursday, Nov. 19.
Freshman forward Gabriella Giacone led all scorers, putting up 14 points to lead her team to victory.
Although senior forward Samantha DeFreese, the team’s leading scorer, scored a season-low 10 points, the Huskies were able to generate offense from new sources, like sophomore guard Maureen Taggart, who tallied 14.
With the win, NU improved to 3-0 for the first time since the 1982-83 season.
The undefeated Huskies then hit the road to Morgana, Calif. to take part in the St. Mary’s Hilton Concord Thanksgiving Classic Tournament, where they matched up with the University of Missouri and California State University, Fresno.
Although the team put up a strong fight against the Missouri Tigers, it was unable to keep its winning streak alive and suffered its first loss of the year by a score of 69-56.
‘They’re a really good team,” Head Coach Kelly Cole said of Missouri. “I thought we played them really well.”
DeFreese and Giacone once again led the offense, scoring 16 and 13 points, respectively. This time, freshman guard Jess Genco stepped up and had her best game of the season.
Genco played all 40 minutes and shot five-for-11 from the field for 13 points to help drive the NU offense, but it wasn’t enough to get past Missouri.
Despite a similar result against Fresno, Cole was less than satisfied with what she saw on the court. The team lost its second straight contest, this time 69-55.
“We didn’t put our best foot forward,” she said. “It could’ve been because of the travel or the back to back, but for whatever reason we didn’t play our best game.”
This game featured two more breakout scorers, as freshman guard Zoe Zwerling and junior center Francesca Sally each set season highs in points. Zwerling hit four shots off the bench to chip in 11 points, while Sally, the starting center, notched 10 points of her own.
The team struggled on defense, something Cole cited as “uncharacteristic,” but she was not worried that the team allowed 69 points in consecutive games.
“I think we’ve been good in the defensive end overall,” she said.
Returning to the East Coast, the team hit the road again to take on the University of New Hampshire (UNH) in Durham to cap off a three-game road trip. The Huskies got back in the win column with a 66-54 victory.
DeFreese and Genco exploded offensively, combining for 50 points and nearly beating the Wildcats by themselves. DeFreese was 12 of 14 from the field, and the team as a whole shot 46.6 percent, its best mark of the season.
Moving ahead, the team has just five games remaining until it starts Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) play.
The Huskies are back in action on Friday when they host the University of Maine to kick off a six-game homestand that lasts until their first CAA game against Towson University on Jan. 3.
Photo courtesy Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics