|Huskies Break Away From Seahawks, 67-52|
WILMINGTON, North Carolina - Freshman forward Samantha DeFreese came off the bench to score 13 of her career-high 15 points in the first half to lift visiting Northeastern past UNCW, 67-52, in Colonial Athletic Association women's basketball action Sunday at Trask Coliseum.
The Huskies won their second straight game to improve to 15-10 overall and 8-6 in the CAA. The Seahawks, honoring their three seniors on Senior Day with the weekend pairing, now stand 3-22 and 2-12.
Senior guard Kashaia Cannon and junior center Jewel Tunstull of NU led all scorers with 16 points apiece. DeFreese's 15 points made it three players in double figures for the Huskies, who shot 42.1 percent on the day.
NU was playing without leading scorer Deanna Kerkhof, who averages 13.7 ppg. The senior guard was sidelined with an injury and did not play in her second straight contest.
Freshman guard Dana Brown matched her career-high with 14 points, equaling her previous total of 14 points at Towson on Jan. 27, and shared team-high honors with senior Karneshia Garrett. Garrett collected her 11th double-double of the season and the 18th of her career with 14 points and 14 rebounds.
The two teams were meeting for the first time since the Feb. 10 matchup in Boston was snowed out by Nemo and the Huskies led for all but 1:09 of the contest.
After taking a 33-24 lead at halftime, NU saw its lead dwindle to one point early in the second stanza before the Huskies pulled away down the stretch.
NU still led, 37-30, at the 18-minute mark when the Seahawks closed the deficit to 37-36 when Brown heated up from the outside. The rookie from Cary, N.C., drained back-to-back three-pointers to narrow the deficit to just one point with just over 17 minutes remaining.
But Tunstull keyed a 10-1 spurt for the Huskies and A'leve Mark's free throw with 12:38 left increased the score to 47-37.
Brown then connected on a pair of free throws and Kelva Atkins added her only basket of the game to get the Seahawks within six points, 47-41, at 10:48, but it was the closest UNCW could get in the final period.
NU answered with a pair of buckets from Cannan to bump the lead back to 51-41 and pushed the margin to as many as 15 points in the final minutes.
DeFreese came off the bench to power the Huskes to a 33-24 lead at intermission. The freshman from Bergenfeld, N.J., made 6-of-7 shots en route to 13 points as NU led by as many as 12 markers in the opening period.
After UNCW senior forward Chelsea McGowen scored on a layup at 15:55 to cut the deficit to 7-6, the Huskies used a 12-2 run to gain some breathing room. A conventional three-point play DeFreese capped the spurt and increase NU's lead to 19-8.
UNCW answered with eight consecutive points to close the gap to 19-16, but the Huskies went on another run, this time scoring eight straight points of their own to push the margin back to 27-16 on another jumper by DeFreese.
NU built its largest lead of the opening period, 31-19, with 2:04 left before the Seahawks scored five straight points and a layup by DeFreese with 33 seconds left gave the Huskies a nine-point advantage at intermission.
The Seahawks have four games remaining in the regular season and travel to Fairfax, Va., on Thursday to take on George Mason at 7 p.m. The Huskies travel to Towson on Thursday for their next outing.
GAME NOTES: The Huskies evened the all-time series at 6-all and 3-3 in Wilmington...NU outscored UNCW in the paint, 34-20...NU's bench outscored its UNCW counterparts, 19-5...Tunstull scored 14 of her 16 points in the second period...Junior guard Jessica Freeman of UNCW fouled out with 1:27 remaining, her first disqualification of the season...The Huskies scored their final 10 points at the free throw line, going a perfect 10-of-10 at the charity stripe...NU committed just nine turnovers...The Huskies won the rebounding battle, 40-35...Freeman and Atkins each collected four assists...The two teams combined for just 8-of-39 behind the arc.