By: Alex Smith
The monkey is off their backs.
It had been 340 days since their last victory, but coach Katy Steding’s Boston University Terriers finally ended the drought on Wednesday, holding on in the final moments for a gutsy 63-59 win over Patriot League defending champion American University. Kara Sheftic led the team in scoring for the third consecutive game, and Corinne Williams was perfect from the field and finished just a rebound shy of a double-double.
The Terriers opened the game on a 10-0 run, sparked by Courtney Latham’s effective slashing and Corinne Williams’ newfound shooting touch. They’d take that strong start to a 16-9 lead at the end of the first quarter, and wouldn’t relinquish that lead.
Playing with the lead isn’t something the Terriers have been accustomed to this season, especially early in the game. They have been outscored 155-255 in the first quarter this season, so setting the pace early clearly made the difference down the stretch for BU.
American seemed content to settle rather than to work the Terrier defense, heaving early and often from downtown against the Terriers 2-3 zone, and perhaps by doing so played into BU’s hands. The Eagles shoot 26.8% from deep on the season, making a measly 3.8 of the 14.3 shots they average per game.
There was a departure from that trend in this game, though, as they shot 9-23 from beyond the arc, good for 39%. Jordan Light was plugged in off the bench and finished with a team high 15 points. She got hot during the second quarter, cashing in a pair of triples, and a late three ball from Elina Koskimies would knot the score at 31 as both teams headed into the locker room.
The third quarter of action proved to be arguably BU’s best quarter of the season. A balanced scoring attack led to several Terriers getting open looks in good spots, and whether it was Meghan Green laying it in or Kara Sheftic knocking down baseline jumpers, the Terriers looked sharp and decisive with the ball throughout the frame. Corrine Williams even splashed in a triple, just her second of the season, as part of her perfect 4-4 shooting performance.
The Terriers needed every bit of their seven point lead heading into the 4th quarter, and had to avoid yet another Eagle eruption to eke out the win. Trailing 59-50 with just 1:22 to play, American nearly did the impossible. A pair of triples just 19 seconds apart by Maria Liddane would cut the lead to 4, and when a careless Sarah Hope turnover led to Cecily Carl splashing in a triple of her own with 30 seconds remaining, it seemed as though BU’s first win might slip away as they clung to a 60-59 lead.
Credit the Terriers, though, who were unfazed by American scoring nine points in under a minute. BU again put the ball in Hope’s hands, and she delivered two free throws after being fouled. Cecily Carl couldn’t tie it up from deep, but Latham’s 0-2 from the stripe gave American one last chance.
American drew up a nice pick play to free up the 6’3” freshman Carl for the tie, but her shot was just short. The Terriers were all smiles as Corinne Williams sunk her second free throw to ice the game with 2 seconds to play.
BU has been due for this win, especially as they had seen their best performances come against conference foes this season. They’ll have a great chance to add to their first win as they travel to Loyola Maryland on Saturday, before returning home to face 3-12 Colgate at Case on Wednesday.