By: Alex Smith
Boston University Women’s basketball wraps up their four game road trip this Saturday, as they visit the University of New Hampshire Wildcats.
The Terriers (0-6) haven’t had to travel far despite their consecutive away games, having stayed in state against Harvard and UMass Lowell. This will be their second visit to New Hampshire, as they took on Dartmouth in Hanover over Thanksgiving break.
The Wildcats have started the season strong, but are coming off a ten point loss to the Northeastern Huskies. Sitting at 5-2 overall, they have topped their in-state rival the Big Green by 4, giving them a 1-1 record against common opponents.
UNH will rely on Elizabeth Belanger, who poured in a remarkable 27 points in the Huskies’ recent defeat. She earned 9 of those points from the charity stripe, only missing one free throw. The Terriers have struggled to play clean defense, so they’ll have to ensure they don’t give Belanger any freebies.
Despite averaging 15.6 points per game, the Senior Guard has eclipsed the 20 point mark three times. Take away two nights of three and six points and her average climbs even further. BU will need to ensure she has limited success as they seek their first victory.
BU saw the emergence of a familiar force in their last defeat, with Sarah Hope splashing in 20 points, 18 of which came from behind the arc. The Junior sharpshooter had struggled to connect from deep until the outburst, and it should help her become fully integrated and comfortable in coach Steding’s line up after missing half of last season.
The Terriers struggled to control the paint once again against UMass, something they’ll try to reverse on Saturday. UNH rebounds the ball well, with a margin of +7.7 per game, and has only made 19 three pointers on the year, painting a picture of a team that does most of their offensive work inside the paint.
The Wildcats feature three players above 6’2”, so a surprise appearance of Milla Ekstrom could be something we see from coach Steding. The 6’5” center from Finland hasn’t seen much court time as she adjusts to the division one level, but after being so consistently out-rebounded in their early season losses, a shake up from the bench certainly wouldn’t seem amiss.
With only four non-League matchups remaining for the Terriers, they will be eager to get in the W column before the 18-game Patriot League season. Though there are plenty more chances this year, BU will want to take some amount of momentum into those League games, and the short trip to New Hampshire represents yet another opportunity to grab some.
Tip off is set for 4 p.m. and can be heard on TSRN.