Speed and defense prove key in women’s basketball’s slugfest win over Hofstra


Elizabeth Scholl

Senior guard Jaelyn Batts brings the ball down the court. Batts was a starter in the Huskies’ Sunday afternoon win over Hofstra.

Eamonn Ryan, news staff

Sunday afternoon’s 59-52 win over the Hofstra Pride (9-16, 3-11 CAA) may not have been the prettiest one for Northeastern women’s basketball (14-11, 9-5 CAA), but it got the job done.

The Pride shot just 17-of-65 (26.2%) from the field and 4-of-17 (23.5%) from beyond the arc, and Northeastern’s defense forced 16 turnovers, including nine steals.

“Overall, I thought that we were aggressive and our defense led to our offense,” said Huskies head coach Bridgette Mitchell. “We were able to get some transition points.”

 Transition is the Huskies’ best aspect of their offensive game, and they showed why with 22 fast break points. Often, their offense can look stagnant without too much movement when just setting up in the front court, but when they get a steal or a rebound and get down the court, the Huskies are lethal.

 “That was our goal, really, to just push the tempo, get it out after they make it,” Mitchell said. “Make sure that we push the ball and try to get wide open layups. We were successful at doing that.”

No one benefited from the speed more than Huskies sophomore guard Gemima Motema, who blazed past defenders for easy layups at the other end. She led the Huskies in points with 16 and was especially impressive in the second quarter, when the Huskies woke up and got the offense going.

Northeastern was already up 19-16 going into the second frame before opening it with an 8-0 run featuring two fast break layups from Motema to fly past the Pride. Most impressively, the Huskies held Hofstra to no points before the 5:02 mark in the second quarter and just seven points in the entire period.

After the break, the ugliness returned for both sides, as neither team cleared 25% from the field in the third frame and both teams scored just 10 points.

 The fourth quarter, however, had plenty of action as the Pride continued to whittle down the Huskies’ 13-point lead. With 4:37 to play, a layup from Hofstra senior guard Sorelle Ineza made it just an eight-point game, but a dagger three from Northeastern junior guard Derin Erdogan immediately put it back to double digits.

 Erdogan finished with 10 points, but her impact was felt more as a passer and rebounder, as she had seven assists and seven rebounds for the Huskies. 

 The Pride continued to attack the paint and got within six of the Huskies before they closed it out.  Not a single Northeastern starter played in the last minute and 30 seconds of the game, but they were able to secure the win.

 “Everyone in our team works extremely hard — [our bench] can close the game just as well as our starters,” Mitchell said. “I have confidence in all of my players, one through 15.”

 The Huskies are riding a four-game win streak and have a few days to rest at home before taking on Delaware in their annual Think Pink Game Friday, Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. in the Cabot Center.