The Northeastern women’s basketball team, down as much as 16 in the second half, used a strong defensive effort to complete a 59-55 come from behind victory over William and Mary on Sunday afternoon at Solomon Court.
William and Mary went the final 6:18 without scoring a field goal, as a young Northeastern team used one junior, one sophomore, and three freshmen down the stretch. Head coach Daynia La-Force Mann made an adjustment with 16 minutes left in the game that saw the Huskies abandon their half court man defense and apply more pressure to the Tribe. The result was an aggressive Huskies defense that created 15 William and Mary turnovers en route to the comeback.
“When we went down into the locker room at halftime we knew we weren’t playing our best game, so we just turned it up and played very good defense,” said Crew. “Everybody was scrapping and trying to get all the loose balls- heart, that’s all it was.”
It was a tale of two halves for Northeastern, who, thanks to 14 turnovers, went into halftime trailing William and Mary 32-21. The Huskies struggled to contain the Tribe from the outside in the half, as William and Mary went 6-15 from beyond the three point line, including three by Katy Oblinger. The Huskies did mount a brief comeback, as a Crew free throw with 9:27 left in the half narrowed the score to 17-15,but that was followed by a Janine Aldridge three pointer that sparked a 9-2 William and Mary run that sent the teams to halftime.
“The first half was not us,” said La-Force Mann. “I think we were just very tentative and very tight- we weren’t loose and we weren’t playing to win.”
In the second half, Northeastern’s Brittany Wilson hit a layup that tied the game at 53-53 before a Crew jumper with 2:19 remaining gave the Huskies their first lead since Wilson scored the game’s opening points. Northeastern extended their lead to four, but William and Mary’s Tasha Pye, who led the Tribe with 14 points, hit two free throws to make it a 57-55 game with :19 left on the clock. That’s as close as William and Mary would get, as Wilson hit two free throws in the game’s final seconds that put the contest out of reach for the Tribe.
“I love these kind of games where you’ve got to fight to win,” said Wilson. “It’s nerve racking trying to comeback, but that’s what you do in basketball.”
Kim Carr led the Huskies with 18 points, while Crew contributed with 16 points off of 7-11 shooting. Overall, the Huskies shot 46.2 percent from the field on Sunday, though they connected on just 2-11 three point attempts.
The win, which improved the Huskies record to 7-11 overall and 4-3 in conference play, continues a trend of dramatic come from behind victories, as the team has won similar games in recent weeks over George Mason and Hofstra. The Huskies face off against Old Dominion on Thursday, and if La-Force Mann has her way, it would be nice to see her team win a game that wasn’t such a nail biter.
“It’s very stressful,” said La-Force Mann. “We have to get to a point where we’re not coming out of games and being so laid back and having our opponents dictate to us what the game is going to be like.”