DURHAM, N.H. – Junior guard Ariel Gaston (Toledo, Ohio) scored 10 points and grabbed five rebounds, but the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team fell to Northeastern University, 70-50, in a non-conference matchup Saturday afternoon at Lundholm Gymnasium.
With the win, Northeastern improves to 2-1 on the season, while New Hampshire falls to 2-1.
Gaston's 10 points on 4 of 6 shooting, led the Wildcats offensively. Senior guard Kelsey Hogan (Nashua, N.H.) and junior forward Corinne Coia (North Smithfield, R.I.) scored nine points apiece to help the scoring effort. Sophomore guard Elizabeth Belanger (Acton, Mass.) pulled down 10 boards while earning seven points, including two treys.
Northeastern junior A'lece Mark led all scorers with 20 points, while senior center Jewel Tunstall dropped 16 points and grabbed 15 rebounds. Sophomore guard Tiffany Montagne pitched in 14 points on 5 of 10 shooting, including 4-for-7 from beyond the arc.
The Huskies held the rebound advantage, edging out the Wildcats, 42-38. UNH shot 37.3 percent (19-for-52) from the field, including 38.1 percent (8-for-21) from long distance. Northeastern registered 37.3 percent shots (25-for-67) from the floor and 30 percent (9-for-30) from behind the arc. The turnover margin was in Huskies' favor by a plus 13 margin.
Both teams struggled out of the gate to open the match as Northeastern held a 7-4 advantage at 14:22. The Huskies stretched out their lead to 12-4 as Samantha DeFreese drilled a 3-pointer followed by a jumper from Tunstull.
New Hampshire responded with a 7-2 run to cut Northeastern's lead down to 14-11, powered by contributions from Kaylee Kilpatrick (Saint John, New Brunswick), Gaston and Belanger.
However, the Huskies would pull away again, building their lead to 23-16 with 4:03 remaining in the first half.
Both teams would close out the final 3:02 remaining in the first frame with three treys apiece.
Gaston began the flurry of 3-pointers, pulling New Hampshire within four points at 23-19. Kazzidy Stewart responded on the ensuing possession to regain the six-point advantage. Kristen Anderson (Greene, Maine) stormed back for the Cats', draining the shot from long distance. Just 18 seconds later at 2:01, DeFreese drilled her second 3-pointer of the night to raise the score to 29-22. Sarah-Marie Frankenberger (Gross Gerau, Germany) brought UNH within four again at 29-25 with 1:43 remaining. Furthermore, the forward drew a last minute foul with 1.6 seconds remaining and buried both free throws, inching the Wildcats closer to the Huskies by a score of 34-27 to enter the half.
Entering the second half, Northeastern came out shooting from long range, netting a pair of 3-pointers from Tiffany Montage to pull ahead 40-30. After a media timeout, UNH retaliated with a 12-0 run in 5:07 to take its first lead of the match at 42-40 with 13:09 remaining.
After applying the press defense for the majority of the first half, the Huskies utilized the tactic again to curb the Wildcats comeback. Northeastern recaptured the lead with an 11-0 run, sparked by a 3-pointer from Mericer. Despite a second Anderson trey and a layup from Gaston, the 'Cats could not slow down the Huskies fast-paced offense or break the full-court press.
Powered by double figure scoring efforts from Mark (12) and Montage (11) in the second half, the Huskies were able to hand the Wildcats their first loss of the season.
The Wildcats return to action Wednesday Nov. 20 when they take on Central Connecticut State University at 7:00 p.m. at Detrick Stadium in New Britain, Conn. For tickets, visit UNHWildcats.com or call (603) 862-4000, extension 5.