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Northeastern’s defense dominates in win over BU

In Wednesday’s win over the BU Terriers, the Northeastern Huskies forced shot clock violations, backcourt turnovers, you name it!

Kendall Currence (with ball)
Photo courtesy of Northeastern women’s basketball (@GoNUwbasketball) via Twitter.

The Northeastern Huskies held the BU Terriers scoreless for the final 7:13 of the second quarter — forcing two shot clock violations in the final 2:10 of the frame — and went on an 8-0 run in that span after which they never trailed en route to a 53-45 victory on Wednesday at Cabot Center in Boston.

BU led 9-2 early, but was ice cold in the second, going 2-of-12 from the field and 0-of-6 from deep. Northeastern (5-2, 0-0 CAA) held the Terriers (2-5, 0-0 Patriot) to single digits in both the second and third and got their leading scorer, senior guard Kendall Currence, going with eight points in the third before leading by eight three different times in the fourth.

BU was still in the game late, as a Liz Shean triple cut the team’s deficit to just four with 26 seconds remaining. But the Huskies went 4-of-4 at the line after that to seal the deal.

A Donna Ntambue layup with 1:16 to play gave Northeastern an eight-point lead and got the crowd full of kids going on what was Boston Public School Day. Ntambue, a sophomore guard, was key down the stretch, scoring seven of the Huskies’ final nine points.

Currence led Northeastern with 15 points to go along with her three assists and two steals, while Ntambue finished with 11 points and six rebounds. Freshman star Claudia Soriano contributed nine points to the winning cause, as well as three assists and two steals. She entered the game leading the nation with 4.7 steals per game.

Northeastern was down 20-13 when sophomore forward Izzy Larsen scored inside to begin the 8-0 run, which became a 10-0 run in the third. Graduate student forward Emily Calabrese then scored inside twice, including on a reverse layup that cut her team’s deficit to 20-19. A Currence layup with 1:55 remaining in the second gave Northeastern its first lead of the game at 21-20.

“We just kind of had to stay together, motivate each other,” Currence said. “I think our offense really comes from our defense.”

The Huskies closed the first on an 11-5 run to cut their deficit to one entering the second. The run began with a Soriano three.

Northeastern went to a full court press for part of the fourth and it led to back-to-back turnovers and points on both ensuing Husky possessions.

“We wanted to be in attack mode,” said Northeastern head coach Bridgette Mitchell. “Our defense always gets us going and we get a lot of confidence from our ability to (press) and we just wanted to be confident as we ended the fourth quarter.”

For the game, Northeastern won the field goal percentage battle 37 percent to 32 percent. BU went 4-of-22 from beyond the arc while Northeastern was 2-of-14. Soriano had the two makes as she was an efficient 2-of-4. The Huskies forced 23 turnovers.

Riley Childs went 2-of-2 from downtown in the first for BU and finished 3-of-5 with 13 points and 10 rebounds. BU leading scorer Sydney Johnson, who entered averaging 15.3 points per game, was kept in check at 11 points and was 0-of-5 from distance.