The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News



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‘Expect the unexpected’: Injuries limit the women’s basketball team’s success

Annelise Balentine
Derin Erdogan looks for an offensive opportunity in a game earlier this season. The senior led the Huskies in total points (420), assists (118), steals (39) and three-pointers (60) for the 2023-24 season.

After a loss in the second round of the CAA tournament to the Towson University Tigers (20-11, 11-7 CAA) and failure to qualify for the NCAA tournament, the Northeastern women’s basketball team’s (10-17, 5-13) season came to an end. 

Coming off of unexpected success from the 2022-23 season, the Huskies had hopes to make the NCAA tournament or win the CAA tournament, but losing six players to injuries threw the team for a loop.

The Huskies started strong, picking up wins against Stonehill College and UMass Amherst to begin the season with back-to-back victories. Even after a loss to Boston College, the team still held on to its groove to beat both Merrimack College and Wagner College by double digits. 

The team then experienced a sharp decline after key players, including junior forward Asha Parker and junior guard Gemima Motema, were injured. 

“Those two players are a really big part of our team,” senior guard Derin Erdogan said. “Losing that, we kind of lost our flow. It was a really hard adjustment.”

Conference play was topsy-turvy for the Huskies. While the team was still able to pick up a few wins, Northeastern suffered some of its worst defeats in conference games. The Huskies decided to forfeit games against Stony Brook University, William & Mary and Towson to allow the injury-ridden team to recover before the CAA tournament.

Despite these hurdles, Northeastern picked up a 66-60 win against the University of North Carolina-Wilmington in the first round of the CAA tournament March 13. This win, along with an overall resilient end-of-season performance, won the Huskies the Most Inspirational award at the Northeastern Athletics Award Show. 

“We won that conference game with players who were injured but pushed through and played,” head coach Priscilla Edwards-Lloyd said. “I think that says a lot to our toughness and resilience that grew as the season went on.”

The season came to a close with a 78-69 loss to Towson in the second round of the CAA tournament March 14.

Though the season was not as successful as the team had hoped, younger players were given the opportunity to step in the spotlight and showcase their skills. Freshman guard Yirsy Quéliz finished the season with 34 steals, the second-most of any player on the team. Quéliz also started in 15 games throughout the season. 

“I didn’t think that I was going to start at all,” Quéliz said. “It was definitely a learning year for me, but I think I handled it pretty well.”

This was Edwards-Lloyd’s first season as head coach, after Bridgette Mitchell left the team to coach at Fordham University. This wasn’t the first time the Huskies adapted to new leadership, as several staffing changes occurred for the Northeastern women’s basketball team over the past few years.

“With [Edwards-Lloyd], it was her first year as a head coach and I think she learned a lot, especially working with me, Deja [Bristol] and people coming from the major schools too,” Erdogan said. “I would say she’s definitely gonna make some changes and I know the girls wanna do something great.”

While the schedule for the 2024-25 season has not been released, the Huskies are focused on recovering from injuries and building the team with new recruits and transfers. 

“We’re working on getting healthy and we’re working on adding pieces that can continue to help us be successful,” Edwards-Lloyd said.

With the curveballs that the Huskies faced this tumultuous season, coaches and players gained valuable lessons about adapting to change.  

“You have to expect the unexpected,” Edwards-Lloyd said. “You always just have to be ready to pivot and adjust. We definitely learned a lot about preparation and how to get through hard things.”

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