By: Alex Smith
The Boston University women’s basketball team will take on their third Beanpot opponent in just four games when they travel to Lavietes Pavilion to take on the Harvard Crimson tuesday night.
The Terriers (0-3) are in search of their first win of the season, and are coming off a tough loss to rivals BC. BU will search for some offensive consistency, as despite giving up fewer than 60 points in the defeat, they only managed to put in 37 of their own. Their date away at Harvard will be their first contest outside of Case Gym this season.
Harvard (2-2) were picked third in the Ivy League preseason poll after going 14-14 a season ago, and rolled past Toledo 76-70 on Sunday after dropping a hard fought battle to Rhode Island the day before.
The Crimson are led by senior captain AnnMarie Healy, who has contributed 15.3 points per game. The forward from Edina, Minnesota (not only my home state but also the very suburb I grew up in) has shot an impressive 58.1% on the year, a number that looks even better when considered in the context of her team’s 39% overall clip.
The Terriers and the Crimson share young backcourts; The Terrier trio of freshmen Payton Hauck, Naiyah Thompson and Lauren Spearmen saw plenty of court time against the Eagles, while for the Crimson rookie guards Sydney Skinner, Madeline Raster and Nani Redford have combined for almost 13 points a game and have started at least one contest each. Skinner has started 3 games for the Crimson so far, and figures to add to that total Tuesday.
The coaching matchup also promises to be intriguing, with both team’s coaches being at considerably different points in their respective careers. BU’s Katy Steding is in her second season, rebuilding a program that found itself submerged in scandal years ago, while Kathy Delaney-Smith enters her 33rd season at Harvard as the Ivy League’s all time winningest coach.
Delaney-Smith holds the distinction of having coached the only 16 seed to ever defeat a top seed in the NCAA tournament, having led her Crimson team over top ranked Stanford in the opening round of the 1998 big dance.
BU’s frontcourt has struggled on the glass this season, giving up 11.3 more rebounds than they collect on the year. However, strong play from sophomore forwards Erin Bayram and Kara Sheftic, especially late against BC, will have the Terriers a bit more confident as they try to establish consistency down low. Milla Ekstrom’s debut also suggests that the trend is on its way to reversing itself.
The Terriers have come up against several teams with dominant, 6’4” posts so far this season, and will be relieved to see that 6’2” is the tallest height on the Crimson roster. That should help them turn the corner on the boards, which has been the team’s biggest issue so far this season.
Tip off is set for 7 p.m. and can be heard live on Terrier Sports Radio Network.