By: Alex Smith
After watching the men’s team hand Albany a late defeat on Monday for their first win, BU women’s basketball couldn’t replicate their success and dropped to 0-2 on the season on Wednesday night.
Last weekend’s loss to Northeastern saw the Terriers play well in spurts but Wednesday night’s affair was more of the same for BU. Despite the final scoreline of 83-43, BU was only outscored by seven in the second half. Add in the first quarter and that margin grows to -17, certainly not a pleasing number, but with the final margin of -40, you can bet that head coach Katy Steding will be breaking down the tape of that second quarter tomorrow morning.
“If you look at our output during the third and fourth quarter, it isn’t that dismal as it felt because we gave them such a lead in the second,” said Steding. “Last year I tried to describe our team as a 30 minute team playing a 40 minute game, we can’t be doing that anymore, we’ve got to be done with that.”
BU was outscored during that second frame 32-9, and it was All-American forward Shereesha Richards who did most of the damage for the Great Danes. Albany’s all time scoring leader poured in all but two of her 22 points in the first half, and ripped down 9 boards, just missing her first double-double of the season. Her length and athleticism proved too much for BU, as she dominated the post whenever she was on the floor.
Imani Tate’s 20 points out of the back-court would seal BU’s fate, as she scored eight points in a row for Albany at one point in the third quarter. Her strength and speed made her too much for BU’s back-court to deal with, as she got to the rim repeatedly with ease.
The Terriers predictably struggled on the glass against a bigger Albany front-court, losing the rebound battle 39-23. BU had difficulty keeping the Danes off the offensive glass, giving up 12 second chance rebounds, some of which came in succession.
BU would finish the game much better than it started, and that second half rally was sparked by freshman duo Naiyah Thompson and Lauren Spearman. The pair were good for 9 each off the bench, which tied for the team lead. Spearman in particular looked more confident when coach Steding handed her the keys to the Terrier offense late in the third. She knocked down both triples she took, which will certainly help her confidence going forward.
The Terriers were ultimately undone by Albany’s hot hands from the field. The Danes shot a scorching 55%, though Steding was quick to place some of that blame on her defense. “62% in the first half, that happens when you shoot lay-ups,” said Steding. “We’re not very big, not very strong until we get Sophie [Beaudry] next year, so we’ve got to get tougher with our mid-sized posts.”
What Went Right
Freshman impact: Coach Steding’s first recruiting class hasn’t wasted much time proving themselves, and the most intriguing member of that class has yet to check in for the Terriers. Naiyah Thompson and Lauren Spearman both impressed, especially from long range, and Payton Hauck showed flashes of her quick first step, knifing into the middle of Albany’s zone and trying to create for her teammates on several occasions.
What went wrong
Second quarter disaster: BU was outscored 32-9 in the second quarter, which would have put them on pace to lose 128-36. Obviously the Terriers sorted out some of those defensive issues, but there is still concern there as you could argue BU had it easy during the second half with Richards and Tate on the bench for the majority of the third and entire fourth quarter. It is worth saying, though, that not every team has an All-American on their roster and Richards may be the most dominant player we see at Case until Kelsey Minato visits later this season.
Turnovers and rebounds: BU struggled in both of these categories again, and it was reflected on the scoreboard. The Terriers only took 46 attempts from the floor compared to Albany’s 60, and as the adage goes you miss every shot you don’t take. BU turned the ball over 27 times, and if they could manage just a few more of those possessions ending in shot attempts, they would likely start to see those scoring gaps close.
BU’s next game will be against crosstown rival Boston College, who will pay a visit to Case Gym on Saturday. Tip off is set for 1 p.m. and the contest can be viewed live on the Patriot League Network.