Women’s basketball’s run halted by Monmouth in CAA Semifinals


Photo courtesy Justin Chen

Senior guard Jaelyn Batts scans the court before passing the ball. The Huskies fell to Monmouth 73-60 in a CAA Semifinals matchup Saturday afternoon.

Eamonn Ryan, news staff

The third-seeded Northeastern women’s basketball team (19-12, 13-5 CAA) was red-hot coming into their semifinal matchup with No. 7 Monmouth (17-15, 9-9 CAA) Saturday night, but they finally cooled off as they fell 73-60.

The Hawks used a 22-8 third quarter to build an advantage and never looked back in the fourth, capitalizing on their momentum.

“[I’m] proud of the effort of my team,” said Northeastern head coach Bridgette Mitchell. “We had some moments where we showed how bright our future is, and just fell short today.”

The Huskies were led by junior forward Deja Bristol, who came off the bench and delivered a 15-point, nine-rebound performance. Junior guard Derin Erdogan chipped in with 13 points as well, but her efficiency was limited as she shot just 6-of-14.

“Gosh, what a high powered offense [the Huskies] have,” said Monmouth head coach Ginny Boggess. “We knew we were gonna have to defend…We kept the ball and our people moving, and we were able to make shots in the second half and that was really truly the difference.”

The Hawks saw great performances from junior guard Kaci Donovan and graduate student guard Bri Tinsley, who each scored 14 points, as well as junior center Belle Kranbuhl, who dominated the paint and scored 12 points to go with eight boards.

Kranbuhl was injured against the Huskies in Northeastern’s Jan. 29 win over Monmouth and proved to be an important part of the Hawks’ attack.

“It was great to see [Kranbuhl] out there, healthy and having fun playing,” Boggess said. “She was ready to go when the ball went up tonight, and that confidence that she has is contagious”

Northeastern came out slow, allowing the Hawks six straight points before getting its own bucket. Meanwhile, Kranbuhl was all over the place inside with four points and a block within the first five minutes.

Monmouth kept the defensive intensity up, but what was more impressive was its 12-5 rebound advantage after the first quarter. Easy second-chance points from offensive boards helped build a 16-12 lead.

The Huskies needed to respond in the second, and their defense answered well. Erdogan managed to nab two steals and scored, and a block by junior wing Halle Idowu led to points for graduate student guard JaMiya Braxton. Northeastern went on a 12-2 run that helped propel them to a 30-26 lead at the half.

Coming out of the break, Monmouth started to heat up from long range, as Donovan and fellow junior guard Ariana Vanderhoop combined to knock down three treys in the opening five minutes. The Hawks had a 9-0 run and gained a 41-38 advantage six minutes into the half.

Their defensive discipline continued to show, as they held Northeastern to no points over the last four minutes of the third quarter. A three from graduate student Lovin Marsciano made it a 14-point game with 8:04 left in the game, and the Hawks never looked back.

Northeastern tried to claw its way back into the game, putting pressure on Monmouth at every turn, but the Hawks looked calm and composed as they answered every attempt at a comeback the Huskies had in them. 

With the loss, Northeastern bows out of the CAA tournament and will regroup for next season. The Huskies are only losing two seniors — Braxton and senior Anna Boruta.

Carrying the momentum of this season into the fall will certainly create higher expectations for a team that was picked to finish eighth in the conference at the start of this campaign.

“We’re a really tough group. It’s an exciting time to be a Husky,” Mitchell said. “ I tell our recruits and prospects that we’re looking at all the time, this program is going up.”