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Illness can't stop Parham

Posted - Dec. 5, 2004 at 8:20 a.m.



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Despite being under the weather Saturday, junior forward Aja Parham provided the spark as the Boston College women's basketball team routed Northeastern, 90-63, at Conte Forum.

Coach Cathy Inglese said she was impressed with all her players, but especially Parham.

As if on cue, Parham coughed and cleared her throat when asked about it.

"Yeah, just a little sinus infection, nothing serious," said Parham, who came off the bench to score 12 points (10 in the second half), pull down a career-high 8 rebounds, and nab 3 steals.

Senior Jessalyn Deveny led all players with 22 points and four steals for BC.

All 12 Eagles played and all but one scored. Four reached double figures.

The Huskies also had four double-digit scorers, but NU suffered from 20 turnovers.

BC also led in the theft department, getting 11 steals to NU's three.

In front of a crowd of 1,023, BC (5-1) led by as many as 11 points twice in the first half. But NU (2-4) persisted and closed the half trailing by just 37-32.

In the second half, the Eagles saw their lead shrink to 39-36 before they went on a 12-1 run to take a 51-37 lead with 14:44 to go.

Northeastern freshman Shaleyse Smallwood scored a team-high 16 points.

"For 25 minutes, we weathered what they threw at us," said Northeastern coach Willette White. "And for the last 15, we didn't do that. They're deeper than we are, so they kept shuffling and they finally got their rhythm.

"I feel like we allowed them to get in their rhythm, and they were hitting some big shots and we got more and more deflated." The close first half didn't matter much, White said. "Well, it's a 40-minute game," she said, "and we didn't play for 40 minutes." Inglese said that despite the win, her Eagles need to even out their intensity. "We just have to settle ourselves down the first half and get into our rhythm. It just takes us a little while to do that," she said.

The Eagles shot 50 percent in the first half, but jumped up to 71.4 percent in the second, making 20 of 28 shots.

"So it's just being patient and getting to that point a little sooner," said Inglese. "Once we did, it was an easier and much more comfortable game." Inglese attributed a lot of the comfort to Parham. "Aja's such a spark for us, coming off the bench and doing the things she does well on a consistent basis," said the coach. "The defense picks up when she comes in, and the team feeds off her. She gets a steal or pulls down a rebound hard, and the rest of the kids fall into that enthusiasm." Parham doesn't mind that she has the responsibility to make things happen. "We talked at halftime and knew we needed to pick it up a little bit, and I was just trying to be a spark off the bench," she said.

"I have a little more confidence in myself, and my team has more confidence in me." Editor Notes:(For use by New York Times News Service clients)

c.2004 The Boston Globe

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