By: Alex Smith
Women’s basketball finally returned to Case Gym after the offseason hiatus, as the Terriers hosted the Northeastern Huskies to kick off their 2015-16 campaign.
The game offered a look into a key offseason rule change, which sees the women’s game played in four quarters of 10 minutes rather than the 20 minute halves. BU dominated the first quarter, 15-8, but were outscored in the ensuing 3 quarters 69-29, resulting in the 77-44 final scoreline.
The Terriers swarmed the Huskies early, with coach Steding employing a 1-2-2 press that looked to trap Northeastern as they crossed halfcourt. Using the lanky Troi Melton up top, Steding’s Terriers were able to create turnovers and run out on the break for easy lay-ins.
Melton scored nine in the frame, sprinkling in a couple of isolation jumpers in the half court set with her fast break scores. She was everywhere for the Terriers in the opening period, tipping passes and streaking to the bucket with unmatched speed.
The momentum quickly shifted Northeastern’s way once the second quarter began. Coach Cole’s Huskies traded baskets with BU until the clock read 3:45 following one of senior forward Samantha DeFreese’s 10 field goals on the night. Her jumper made the score 26-21 in favor of the Terriers.
From there the Huskies erupted for 21 unanswered points, holding the Terriers scoreless until midway through the third quarter. The Terriers couldn’t overcome that 8 minute barren stretch and ultimately succumbed to the Huskies, who shot 51% in the second half. BU was out-rebounded 47-33 by Northeastern, and dropped the season opener to the Huskies for the third time in a row.
What Went Right
Troi Melton: The senior looked like a leader on the court throughout the game and was an explosive scorer in the first quarter. She also defended well, recovering for her teammates and recording a couple of blocks on the night. If she can prove more consistent for the Terriers we may start to see her put some impressive stat lines together.
Payton Hauck: Her inclusion in this section might surprise you if you looked at the box score. The freshman guard only netted one of her 8 shots, and was not able to complete the game, fouling out late in the fourth. However, she looked decisive, attacking or shooting immediately on the catch, and her all out attitude was on display as dove on the floor and preserved a BU possession. That confidence and passion should translate well going forward as she hits her stride and gets those jitters out.
What went wrong:
On the boards: The Terriers didn’t put up much of a fight on the glass, though they did manage to pull in a few longer loose ball-type rebounds. A rebound margin of -14 is concerning for BU going forward, and may lead coach Steding to utilize Finnish freshman Milla Ekstrom, who at 6’5” has 3 inches on any of her teammates. It was surprising to see Steding playing small ball with her line ups at times even when BU was struggling to pull in rebounds.
Turnovers. These killed BU, and although Northeastern shot well and created good opportunities from their half court sets, they were gifted points repeatedly by the Terriers’ careless play. BU’s backcourt played well and pushed the tempo at times, but ultimately were far too careless with the basketball.
BU will be back in action at Case on Wednesday, as they’ll host Albany at 7 p.m. The game can be seen on the Patriot League Network.