By James Duffy, deputy sports editor
The inconsistency that has plagued the Northeastern University (NU) women’s basketball team all season was on full display last weekend.
The Huskies came away with a split of two conference games, beating the College of William & Mary in overtime before falling to James Madison University (JMU) to bring their record in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) to 2-3.
With seven total wins, and two in CAA play, they’ve already eclipsed their totals from last season of four and one respectively.
Coming off a road trip that brought mixed results, the team returned home to host the William & Mary Tribe at the Cabot Center on Jan. 15 and secured a dramatic 69-68 win in overtime.
It looked as if the game was over early, as the Huskies found themselves down 11 at halftime, but an incredible team effort in the second half erased the deficit and forced an extra period.
Freshmen paved the way for this comeback win, as guard Jess Genco and forward Gabriella Giacone were the top two scorers for the Huskies. Genco put up 15, and Giacone tallied a career-high 16 points.
The Tribe led by as much as 16 before NU started to chip away at their lead.
In overtime, the teams matched each other bucket for bucket, but William & Mary had the ball down by just a point with eight ticks left on the clock.
On that possession with a chance to win the game, freshman guard Zoe Zwerling came up with a huge steal with a second left to seal the victory for the Huskies.
“It was definitely a team win,” said senior forward Samantha DeFreese. “We stayed together through it all, the ups and the downs.”
DeFreese, the team’s leading scorer on the season, had just seven points in the game, but made massive contributions otherwise, crashing the boards to rack up 11 rebounds.
DeFreese had high praise for the younger players who have contributed so much to this team. She praised Genco specifically after the win, saying of her “I wouldn’t even know she was a freshman point guard with the way she plays out there.”
Head coach Kelly Cole also applauded her team for battling for the win.
“For us to be able to continue to fight back out there is huge for us,” she said.
Two nights later in Harrisonburg, Va., the result was less than desired as the Huskies fell to JMU 85-62.
DeFreese led all scorers with 14, and sophomore guard Claudia Ortiz chipped in 11, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Dukes, who are tied for first place in the CAA.
“I think we ran out of gas,” Cole said following the loss. “It was a quick turnaround for us, but I was really pleased with the way we played in the first half.”
Next weekend, the team has dates with Hofstra University, one of the best teams in the conference, and Drexel University, a team the Huskies already defeated earlier this season.
Looking ahead, Cole was more concerned about her own team rather than her upcoming rivals.
“It’s so much more about what we’re doing than what our opponents are doing,” she said.
DeFreese agreed, saying that the Huskies will need a team effort to come away with wins next weekend, and they’ll need to focus on playing their game.
“We need to keep doing the things we do well,” she said about the upcoming weekend.
Photo courtesy Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics.