By SAM ROGERS
The Wildcats faced off against a familiar foe in Northeastern University on Tuesday night in the 64th meeting between the two New England programs. The Wildcats could never get their post play established and fell 66-54.
The game started with brief scoring runs by each team. The Huskies struck first as they pushed out to a 5-0 lead early on in the first. The Wildcats answered with a run of their own, taking a 6-5 lead. The remainder of the first quarter remained dead-even as both teams were tied with 11 points.
Northeastern turned up its aggressive and physical play in the middle of the second frame and jumped to a ten-point lead. Senior Elizabeth Belanger notched the final five points for UNH but the team still trailed 30-22 at half.
“We didn’t stick to our game plan,” UNH head coach Maureen Magarity said about handling Northeastern’s athleticism and aggressiveness.
“We have to be able to knock down some wide-open shots,” Magarity said, “If teams are just going to pack it in to the paint we have to be able to open some things up.”
Belanger led the charge by tying her career mark with 27 points and eight rebounds. Although the Wildcats post play was not up to the team’s usual standards, sophomore forward Carlie Pogue had 13 points and 11 rebounds.
For the first time all season, UNH was outscored in the paint. Northeastern held a 32-26 advantage by the end of the game. Unforced turnovers and careless mistakes also plagued the ‘Cats all game long, as they committed 15 turnovers in the non-conference matchup.
“We were shying away,” Belanger said about her team’s post play. “We need to go to the rim and attack them, and when we did that in the second half we got points.”
The third quarter started and ended slowly for the Wildcats on the offensive end of the floor. They had their hands tied up with Northeastern senior Samantha DeFreese (29 points) and freshman Jess Genco (21 points), which seemed to affect UNH’s offensive production. After only scoring seven points in the third, UNH trailed 49-29.
“We had some silly turnovers and that hurt us in the third quarter,” Belanger said. “We just need to do a better job taking care of the ball.”
“We knew we were capable of coming back, we just need to do a better job not falling into that hole,” Belanger said about the potential for a comeback.
This year’s Wildcats made their own dent into Northeastern’s daunting lead, chipping it down to nine points three times over the course of the final frame. Belanger sparked the rally scoring 13 points late. The comeback fell short though, and eventually the Huskies ran away with it 66-54.
“We’re a young team and it’s still early on in the season, but that’s something that obviously can’t happen,” Magarity said about failing to match Northeastern on the offensive side of the ball.
The Wildcats have a chance to get back on a winning track when they host Boston University on Saturday, Dec. 5 at 4 p.m.
Huskies cool off ‘Cats
By SAM ROGERS