Women’s basketball upsets UNCW, 75-64, in CAA quarters


File photo by Brian Bae

Senior guard Jess Genco calls a play during a Dec. 2 game against UMass.

Vincent van Oorschot, news staff

Six-seed Northeastern upset three-seed North Carolina Wilmington in its first CAA tournament game Thursday night, 75-64. The Huskies will face Drexel in the CAA semi-finals Friday.

Hustle, accuracy and consistency were the three best words to describe the Huskies’ performance at the Bob Carpenter Center against UNCW, as Northeastern took the lead halfway through the first quarter and held it the entire game, shot 44.4 percent from the field and earned a plus-seven rebounding advantage.

The game started off well from deep for the Seahawks (18-11, 11-7 CAA), as they knocked down the first two 3s of the game, but senior and junior forwards Gabby Giacone and Ayanna Dublin got the Huskies (19-10, 9-9 CAA) on the scoreboard with a contested layup each.

Handling the ball was a struggle for UNCW; within the first five minutes of play, the Seahawks racked up five turnovers.

A 16-2 run for the Huskies extended their lead heading into the second quarter, with junior guard Shannon Todd leading the scoring with eight points while nailing two 3-pointers to give the Huskies a 20-10 lead at the end of the first.

Back-to-back 3s by UNCW guard Ahyiona Vason started off the second quarter, cutting Northeastern’s lead to a mere four points.

But the Huskies came to Delaware looking to make a run in the tournament, having never made it past the semi-finals in the team’s history. Another 12-2 run from Northeastern saw them take a 34-21 lead, capping off a remarkably strong first half.

The run also saw NU’s All-CAA First Team member, senior guard Jess Genco, knock down her first 3-pointer of the game.

Todd led the way with 13 first-half points, three rebounds and three assists. Freshman forward Alexis Hill grabbed six rebounds, which came along with four points. The Huskies shot at a 43.3 percent rate to round out the first two periods.

Northeastern’s hustle did not let up, as transition baskets for both teams came left, right and center. But Hill amped up her scoring load, putting away four baskets in the space of three minutes and totalling 12 points leading into the final quarter.

Genco found her rhythm at the free-throw line, going six of eight from the stripe to help the Huskies maintain a 15-point lead with one quarter remaining, 54-39.

A 4-0 run to start the fourth was enough to slingshot the Huskies over the finish line, taking the 11-point win and solidifying a semi-final berth.

The top scorers for Northeastern were Genco (22 points, six rebounds and five assists), Todd (16 points, six rebounds and five assists) and Hill (16 points & eight rebounds)

Northeastern will face the second-seeded Drexel, who have the CAA Player of the Year in Bailey Greenberg, tomorrow at 4 p.m. in what will likely be the game of the tournament to this point.