Old Dominion didn't play on Friday, yet suffered its most painful loss of the season. The Lady Monarchs responded with a big victory Sunday.
They won a tightly-contested game against Northeastern 70-67 in their Hoops for a Cure event. The game came just two days after Sara Jones, a volunteer assistant, died of cancer. She was 40.
"We wanted to win the battle emotionally, mentally and physically," coach Karen Barefoot said. "We played our butts off til the end. I'm really proud of our team."
ODU (17-9, 8-6 CAA) shot a blistering 50 percent from the field, but struggled to hold off its feisty opponent. The game's biggest lead was ODU's eight-point margin with 5:47 to play, and the Huskies (13-10, 6-6) came back to take a one-point lead with just 1:39 left.
Freshman point guard Galaisha Goodhope - who had a career-high seven assists - then made a 3-pointer to put the Lady Monarchs back ahead and send a season-high 4,162 fans at the Constant Center into a frenzy.
With those fans in her ear, Northeastern's Deanna Kerkhof missed a free throw with 8.1 seconds remaining, Tiffany Minor dived for a loose ball, drew a foul and ODU, after a three-game losing streak, bounced back in a key game.
"It's been rough, but we've stuck together," senior guard Jackie Cook said. "This game was huge. Emotions flying, as you could see."
Cook had a team-high 21 points, eight rebounds and four assists, while Shae Kelley added 19 points and nine rebounds along with five steals. Mairi Buchan posted her second double-digit effort in three games with 13 points and six rebounds.
With Minor adding 10 points, it was the first time this season ODU had more than three players in double figures. The Lady Monarchs also tied a season-high with 23 assists.
"It's a boost," Kelley said. "We came off three losses in a row, and we were just trying to get back to our old selves."
Despite 20-point efforts from Jewel Tunstull and Kashaia Cannon, the Huskies were unable to stop the Lady Monarchs' hot 3-point shooting. ODU hit eight 3s, including two apiece from Cook, Buchan and Minor.
For Buchan, who like Cook was very close with Jones, the standout performance was full of emotions. The ending, a hard-fought and well-earned victory, seemed fitting to her.
"There's a lot of emotion, there's a lot of thoughts," the senior said, tears streaming down her face.
"It meant so much to be able to win the game tonight."
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