Women’s basketball led by Erdogan’s career night in CAA quarterfinal win over Stony Brook


Photo Courtesy Justin Chen

Graduate student guard JaMiya Braxton lunges into the air to make a shot in a CAA Quarterfinals match against Stony Brook March 10. Braxton knocked in 14 points against the Seawolves.

Eamonn Ryan, news staff

When Northeastern junior guard Derin Erdogan is knocking down half court shots in warmups, opposing teams should be scared.

The sixth-seeded Stony Brook Seawolves (18-13, 11-7 CAA) had plenty to fear after Erdogan torched them with career highs in points and assists with 27 and 10, respectively, as No. 3 Northeastern women’s basketball (19-11, 13-5 CAA) won 85-68 in a CAA quarterfinal matchup Friday night.

“I’ve been telling [Huskies head coach Bridgette Mitchell] that tournament time  — this is different,” Erdogan said. “I’ve been waiting for this for a long time.”

Northeastern was up by just two entering the final quarter, but the Huskies were able to pull away for a huge victory, outsourcing Stony Brook 25-10 in the last frame.

“We had a really impressive fourth quarter that was powered by quite a few of our players, including [junior forward Halle Idowu],” Mitchell said. “[Erdogan] had an exceptional game on the offensive end, and I thought that everybody contributed today. And that’s what led to this victory; really proud of our team.”

Along with Erdogan’s high-scoring night, sophomore guard Gemima Motema and graduate student guard JaMiya Braxton each scored 14 points and senior wing Jaelyn Batts dropped 10. The Huskies shot 31-of-65 (47.7%) from the field and knocked down seven threes in a great offensive game.

The combo of Erdogan and Motema provided the fuel for an impressive offensive first quarter, as they scored 18 of the Huskies’ 23 points on 4-of-5 shooting between the two of them. The Seawolves had shaken off a rough shooting night from their second-round win (28.8% from the field) and responded well to Northeastern’s onslaught of buckets, scoring 19 of their own points in the first.

There was no stopping Erdogan, though. She was knocking down stepback jumpers and pull-up jumpers, using every inch the Seawolves gave her on defense to punish them. By the half, she was up to 21 points and looked unguardable, reaching deep into her bag of tricks to propel the Huskies to a 42-37 lead.

Northeastern looked sound offensively, committing just seven turnovers and shooting 14-of-32 (44%) from the field in the first 20 minutes. Another big key for the Huskies was getting to the free throw line, as they tried to get the ball inside and converted on nine of their 10 shots from the charity stripe.

Their opponent was no slouch, however, and the numbers at the half were somewhat similar for Stony Brook. Graduate  guard Anastasia Warren had eight points to lead the Seawolves, and they were shooting 40% from the field. Offensively, they beat each version of the defense that Mitchell schemed up, scoring both in and out of the paint.

Both teams traded baskets to open the second half, but eventually,  the Huskies’ hot offense cooled off and the Seawolves took advantage, going on a 10-0 run to take a 53-49 lead late in the third quarter.

Who else would respond than Erdogan and Motema?

Erdogan halted the run with a beautiful reverse layup, then tossed a long-range pass to Motema, who tied the game with a jumper in transition.

The swing continued as Motema then found Idowu on the next possession for an and-one and it was 56-53 Northeastern with just over two minutes to play in the quarter. 

The Huskies clung to a 60-58 lead going into the final frame and immediately opened with a 7-0 run, forcing Stony Brook to call a timeout. That ballooned for the Huskies, and a sequence of pretty passes from Erdogan and solid defensive rebounding by Idowu led to a 16-5 run over a seven-minute stretch.

“It was the intensity that we had, right? We were like, ‘Let’s turn it up a bit,’” Mitchell said. “It was really impressive to see that. Our word all season has been ‘persevere’…And I think that we continued to focus in on us and persevere through anything that was thrown at us tonight.”

While Husky junior forward Deja Bristol had the most rebounds on the team, she herself made it known that Idowu’s rebounds were more crucial in the fourth quarter. In the locker room postgame, she gave Idowu a team award for most rebounds that is given after every game.

“[Bristol] gave the Windex award to [Idowu] because she said, ‘Your rebounds were more crucial than mine,’” Mitchell said. “That’s what we’re doing as a team. We’re working together.”

On the Stony Brook side, junior guard  Shamarla King led the way with 12 points and 11 boards, graduate student guard Daishai Almond had 16 points and classmate guard Annie Warren scored 11 points.

But Erdogan’s double-double proved key for Northeastern, even though she only had six points in the second half.

“[Erdogan’s] a great player, but I’m glad that we were able to limit her [in the second half] because in the first half she was lighting us up,” said Seawolves head coach Ashley Langford.

After winning their ninth straight game, the Huskies advance to the CAA semifinals Saturday and have a 4:30 p.m. date with seventh-seeded Monmouth (16-15, 9-9 CAA), which beat No. 2 Drexel 65-59 Friday afternoon. The Huskies split the season series with the Hawks, each team winning one game at home. 

“It’s hard to play a team three times and in a conference tournament,” Mitchell said. “We’re looking forward to executing our gameplan and continuing to persevere through whatever comes our way.”