Friday, March 12, 2010

ODU-NU: Lady Monarchs roll, NU's Wilson looks to be OK

No. 1 Old Dominion 68, No. 8 Northeastern 49: First things first - it looks like Northeastern's Brittany Wilson is going to be OK.

Wilson, a sophomore, a third-team All-CAA performer and the Huskies' best player, suffered a seizure after getting knocked to the floor early in the second half and had to be taken from the court on a stretcher. With 19:00 remaining, Wilson and ODU's Kquanise Bryd were both going for a loose ball out of bounds when Wilson slid and Byrd landed on top of her, driving Wilson's head violently to the floor.

After the game, Northeastern coach Daynia La-Force Mann said that while Wilson still needed to be checked out by doctors, the sophomore was "doing fine, talking, laughing and just being Brittany." The Huskies didn't know that during the game, though, and were clearly in no mood for basketball after Wilson went down. The Huskies trailed by seven at that point; they were down 20 less than six minutes later.

"When I turned around as saw my whole team with red eyes, crying, I knew it was going to be a challenge," La-Force Mann said. "To beat a team like Old Dominion you need a real emotional effort. It took a lot out of us."

Huskies senior forward Kim Carr said no one took it tougher than sophomore Kashaia Cannon, Wilson's best friend on the team. "She didn't want to shoot, she didn't want to do anything. At one point she wanted to go to the bathroom during the game," said Carr, who suspected Cannon's real motive was to get to a cell phone and call Wilson.

Given the circumstances, La-Force Mann spent little time dissecting the Xs and Os of Old Dominion's 19-point victory.

"When something like this happens, it puts a lot of things in perspective really, really quickly," she said.

The Lady Monarchs said seeing Wilson's injury affected them as well; coach Wendy Larry acknowledged as much and opened her press conference by sending out her prayers and best wishes for the fallen Husky. But it was otherwise a near-perfect opener for the Lady Monarchs (17-12), who were able to work up a sweat and then rest their starters while spreading valuable tournament minutes throughout their youthful bench. A defense-fueled fast start triggered the rout, as ODU recorded seven steals en route to scoring 18 of the game's first 20 points. The first-half lead got as high as 21 before the old demons for this ODU team (rebounding and turnovers) crept in and helped the Huskies get to within seven at halftime. But ODU re-asserted its superiority after the break and completed one of its most well-rounded efforts of the season - 18 assists, 15 steals and a 54-37 rebounding advantage. Jessica Canady (in one of her best performances of the season) and Tia Lewis controlled things in the paint while Jasmine Parker quickly shed the mask designed to protect her injured nose area and delivered her usual assortment of steals, assists and timely scoring.

Best of all, no one got overly taxed in producing the rout, as 10 players saw at least 11 minutes and no one played more than 27. So the Lady Monarchs should be primed and ready Saturday for whoever survives today's Delaware-Drexel quarterfinal.

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