By Jose Castillo, A&E columnist
The Northeastern University (NU) women’s basketball team capitalized on the road over the weekend, winning back-to-back games for the first time since early December.
The Huskies were able to whiz past the University of North Carolina at Wilmington Seahawks 72-66 on Friday, Feb. 12 before heading to Elon University to face off against the Phoenix.
With a 46.3 field goal percentage and four players tallying double-digit points, the Huskies were able to avenge themselves from their loss two weeks earlier and to defeat the Phoenix 67-61.
In Friday’s game, senior forward Samantha DeFreese, freshman forward Gabby Giacone, senior guard Kazzidy Stewart and sophomore guard Claudia Ortiz all scored more than ten points. On Saturday, Giacone and DeFreese once again pushed for double digits, along with freshman guards Jess Genco and Zoe Zwerling.
In Friday’s contest against Elon, the Huskies were quick to move, starting the game off with a 13-2 run, 11 of which were unanswered. Elon responded quickly and brought the game back to within two points with only two minutes left in the first quarter. However, the small deficit was short-lived, as DeFreese connected on a three-point play. With a 3-pointer from Stewart, the Huskies held a six-point lead by the end of the period.
Heading into the second quarter, the Huskies lost their impressive lead fairly early in the frame, leading only by two by the 7:50 mark. The Seahawks led by three at the end of the half, 41-38.
In the third, the Huskies were able to regain their lead halfway into the period, and extended it immensely after a 10-0 run to end the quarter. At its peak, the Huskies’ lead hit 14 points. It was only until the last minute of play that the score got close, with NU only leading by two with 48 seconds left. Senior center Francesca Sally knocked down a jumper, and Ortiz hit two free throws to lock up a Husky win, 72-66.
Sunday’s game started slow for the Huskies, as Elon led for all of the first half and headed into the second with 30-27 advantage. It took the Huskies six minutes to gain the lead in the second half. DeFreese made good on a layup to give her team a 40-39 edge. After Giacone connected on a jumper at the buzzer, the Huskies ended the third quarter on top by three, 49-46.
The fourth was tense with the Huskies holding onto a small lead. After two minutes, Elon remained within four points of the Huskies. By the final minute of the game, Elon center Shay Burnett nailed a jumper, and propelled Elon to within a point of tying the match.
DeFreese and Sally converted on foul shots, however and pushed the Huskies back up by four with only five seconds left. Genco ended the game with two made free throws, lifting NU to a six-point lead, wrapping up the game at 67-61.
This win marks NU’s first victory against Elon in program history, and improved the Huskies’ road record to 7-4.
Head coach Kelly Cole was satisfied with the victory.
“It feels good to go anywhere on the road and get a win,” said Cole, “[Elon is] a very well-coached team, and they are very fun to play… I think it could be a great rivalry.”
The Huskies will take a break from the road this Friday, hosting the University of Delaware at the Cabot Center at 7 p.m.
Photo courtesy Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics.