By Jose Castillo, inside columnist
The Northeastern University (NU) women’s basketball team extended its winning streak to four games after defeating the University of Delaware and University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW) in the Cabot Center over the weekend, marking NU’s longest streak in three seasons.
The Huskies hosted Delaware on Friday. The Blue Hens got out to an early five-point lead. However, sophomore guard Claudia Ortiz converted on an and-one, and freshman forward Gabby Giacone knocked down a three to push NU past Delaware halfway through the first quarter, 8-7. An efficient offense combined with a strong defense extended the Huskies’ lead to five by the end of the quarter.
The second quarter was witness to complete domination by NU, with the team holding its largest lead of thirteen points with two minutes left before the half. The lead was supplemented by shots made from senior guard Kazzidy Stewart and senior center Francesca Sally, who tallied seven and four points, respectively. The half ended with the Huskies up 31-25.
The Huskies’ lead continued into the third, keeping the Blue Hens back nearly consistently by double digits. Sally made good on the final basket of the quarter, pushing the score to 48-36 leading into the fourth.
The Huskies held their lead into the fourth up until a 14-4 run started by back-to-back jumpers made by Blue Hen sophomore forward Sade Chatman brought the Husky lead to three, 57-54. The final minute of play was tense, as Delaware came away with a steal and moved the ball up the court. However, the subsequent layup attempt was missed, and a defensive rebound gave possession back to the Huskies.
The ball traveled to both sides of the court one more time before the clock ran out, clinching the victory for NU.
Four Huskies scored double-digit points, and Ortiz ended the game with a double-double (11 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists). Overall, the Huskies shot at 45.1 percent.
Sunday’s game showcased an even more effective Husky effort. Hosting UNCW at Cabot for Alumni Day, the Huskies faced a team that only suited up six players. Still, the Seahawks stayed close to the Huskies, ending the first half down by only one point, 25-24. The team’s ten first-half turnovers eliminated any chance of establishing a strong lead.
NU’s shooting jumped to over 50 percent in the second half. The Huskies were able to make seven 3-pointers, shooting 63.6 percent from behind the arch. The Huskies only turned the ball over twice in the half, and ended the game with a 17-point win, 69-52.
Genco led the team in scoring with 16 points, 12 of which came from 3-pointers. She also dished out three assists, breaking the record for most assists made by a freshman at 100. Ortiz had her second consecutive double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Head coach Kelly Cole credited her team’s season long dedication toward decreasing turnovers as the catalyst of Sunday’s victory.
“It’s a really nice team effort. [Turnovers are] the things that we have been talking about all year long, and it’s just starting to pay off,” Cole said. “The pieces are starting to fall together.”
The Huskies hope to bring their recorded to .500 on Friday, as they host the College of Charleston in Cabot at 4 p.m.
Photo courtesy Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics.