By James Duffy, deputy sports editor
Hampered by injuries and bad weather, the rocky season for Northeastern University (NU) women’s basketball continued last weekend.
The Huskies dropped a game against Hofstra University 75-50 before having their home contest with the Drexel University Dragons pushed back a day due to a blizzard.
When that game was eventually played, the Dragons overcame a 10-point halftime deficit to steal a win at the Cabot Center.
Sophomore guard Claudia Ortiz, the Huskies’ second-leading scorer, and freshman guard Te’Erica Eason, who has started eight games this season, were both sidelined all weekend with concussions.
With Ortiz and Eason injured, senior guard Tiffany Montagne stepped up and made her first start of the season at Hofstra.
Things got away from the Huskies quickly. After NU freshman forward Gabriella Giacone hit a layup for the first points of the game, Hofstra racked up 14 unanswered points, opening a lead that NU was unable to overcome.
The team had no answer for Hofstra sophomore guard Kelly Loftus, who put up 21 points in the game.
Senior guard Kazzidy Stewart led the Huskies with 11 points and junior center Francesca Sally added 10, but it was not enough to overcome the Pride, who came away with the win.
With their Sunday matchup with Drexel delayed due to weather, NU had to wait until Monday night for their shot to get back into the win column.
The Huskies opened strong, holding Drexel to 17 first-half points and taking a 10-point lead into the locker room.
In the second half, the tables turned and Drexel took over.
Propelled by junior forward Sarah Curran, who scored 11 of her 13 points in the second, the Dragons cut the deficit to two points by the end of the third, and eventually came away with a 53-49 victory.
Montagne, making her second start of the year for NU in Ortiz’s absence, played a season-high 35 minutes and tallied 10 points.
Led by Montagne and senior forward Samantha DeFreese, who notched a team-high 15 points, the Huskies shot 43 percent from the field but took their foot off the pedal in the fourth quarter.
“We became way too cautious and we stopped attacking,” head coach Kelly Cole said. “We kept waiting for the perfect shot and ended up with too many turnovers.”
Despite the offensive struggles, the team had its best defensive showing in weeks, holding the high-scoring Dragons to 53 points.
Cole credited the defensive improvements to the team’s settling into a new system.
“The 2-3 [zone defense] is still something that is relatively new to us, but I think it’s starting to click,” she said.
Moving forward, Cole stressed rebounding and defense as two keys to success.
The team will be back on the court on Friday, Jan. 29, against host Elon University, before travelling to Virginia to take on the College of William & Mary on Sunday, Jan. 31.
Photo courtesy of Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics.