Women’s basketball shows fight, learns from mistakes in gritty win over Monmouth


Lauren Salemo

Northeastern’s women’s basketball team huddles during a game. After Sunday’s matchup against Monmouth University, the Huskies’ season record sits at 10-9.

Eamonn Ryan, news staff

Insanity can be defined as doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results each time.

The Northeastern women’s basketball team proved it was of sound mind in its 75-70 win over the Monmouth Hawks (10-11, 5-5 CAA) in the Cabot Center Sunday afternoon. The Huskies (10-9, 5-3 CAA) got off to a slow start, just as they did in Friday’s loss to Towson, but this time they turned it around quickly rather than waiting until the second half to wake up.

“I thought that we responded really well today,” said Northeastern head coach Bridgette Mitchell. “I also thought that it was really important just in terms of the mentality that we had … teams are going to go on runs, it’s the game of basketball.”

Not only were the Huskies coming off their first loss in regulation in the month of January — including four wins and one overtime loss — but they had also lost to the Hawks 49-54 Dec. 30 on the road.

 The Huskies gave up an 8-0 run at the outset, but Mitchell dialed up the press and it worked. The Huskies responded by outscoring Monmouth 13-6 over the next seven minutes and had a 16-14 lead after one quarter.

 In the second, both teams traded buckets, and Hawks sophomore guard Ariana Vanderhoop went 4-for-4 from the field and knocked down a trey. The Boston native took a charge after junior guard Derin Erdogan barreled into her, providing tons of energy for the Hawks, who took a 34-39 lead into the break after the Huskies had to lay off the press to rest their legs.

Erdogan and the Huskies showed their team play early, racking up 10 assists on 15 buckets through the first half.

After the halftime break, the Gemima Motema show began on Solomon Court, as the sophomore guard used a dazzling display of crossovers and pull-up jumpers to score eight of the first 10 Husky points of the period and sparked a 13-2 run over the first five minutes.  

“I wanted to get the ball in [Motema’s] hands and she scored,” Mitchell said. “She scored a great deal and she had the confidence to go in there.”

Motema finished with a team-high 19 points and scored 13 of them in the second half.

With the nature of the game, however, it only made sense the Hawks would respond, and a Vanderhoop triple with five seconds left in the third made it just a one-point affair headed into the final frame.

Impressive shot-making on both sides of the ball and some tough foul calls defined the fourth, as both teams traded buckets. Until the last two free throws from Motema with under 10 seconds to play, the largest lead in the fourth was four points for either team.

Northeastern freshman guard Ariana Webb (11 points) had a nice layup and then spotted up for a three to give the Huskies a four-point lead, but Monmouth junior guard Kaci Donovan, who led the Hawks with 24 points, responded immediately. 

The final sequence that exemplified the Huskies’ grit came with 13 seconds left. Up one, the Huskies were looking to add insurance. Erdogan missed a layup, but junior forward Deja Bristol followed up with a quick putback. The Huskies got another stop and then Motema sank her free throws and blocked a final attempt from the Hawks.

“It was a really great team effort,” Mitchell said. “I’m really proud of them today.”

Next up, the Huskies complete a three-game homestand as they host Drexel Friday, Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. in the Cabot Center.