By: Alex Smith
They’ve turned the corner.
After posting just three wins all of last season, the Boston University Women’s Basketball team completed an impossible comeback for their third straight win. A 69-64 victory improved their record to 4-9, and they’ve eclipsed last year’s win total at a time they hadn’t recorded a single victory last year.
The Terriers (2-0 Patriot League) were carried by two new faces throughout the second half. Trailing by as much as 17 in the third quarter, freshman Nia Irving scored 21 of her 26 points in the second half including 11/12 at the free throw line. Transfer center Sophie Beaudry added 14 second half points after sitting nearly the entire first half with foul trouble as BU ended the game on a ridiculous 23-3 run.
Irving’s breakout performance comes just three games into her collegiate career. In her debut she played just two minutes against UMass, then against Holy Cross she logged 8 points in 19 minutes of play. The third time was the charm, and Maine’s player of the year in 2016 showed impressive composure going nearly perfect from the free-throw line. Her 26 points is the most scored by any Terrier in a single game this season, and is sure to send waves through the Patriot League. She also snagged 10 boards for her first double double. Not too shabby for a player who missed the first portion of the season through injury, and has yet to start a game at this level.
As more and more teams rightfully focus their entire defense on the 6’5″ Beaudry, the Terriers have shown in the first two rounds of conference play that the pieces surrounding her can make a big impact. Beaudry has scored 13 and 16 points in conference games thus far, but didn’t lead the team in either of those games. Against Holy Cross, Sarah Hope erupted for 16 in the first quarter. This time Irving complemented the Canadian Center as BU’s bigs were too much to handle. The Terriers outrebounded Lehigh 46-38 in the game, as senior guard Courtney Latham complemented BU’s forwards, hustling for 9 boards herself.
It may be early to make pronouncements, but if Irving averages even half of the 26 she dumped in against the Mountainhawks, the Terriers would undoubtedly possess the best front-court in the league. Irving could be the first Terrier to garner a Patriot League award in some time, as she’ll without a doubt earn rookie of the week and possibly player of the week as well for her incredible effort.
The Terriers had no business winning this game. They trailed by 15 entering the fourth quarter, and had scored just 32 points in the first three. The 37 point frame marks the highest single-quarter total for this team since the NCAA changed women’s basketball to quarters last season.
After comfortably dispatching a young Holy Cross squad last week, the Terriers made a statement on the road against a top-half team. Despite struggling early in the game, they were unfazed. If you’d have told me this BU team could win getting a combined 3 points from Sarah Hope and Corinne Williams, I’d have laughed you out of the room.
This victory surpassed all expectations for BU. The comeback was a complete effort, and the defensive intensity this team has played with has been unprecedented in coach Katy Steding’s tenure. Given time, though, the former Olympian has transformed this BU team and may have them ready to contend in the top half of the league much earlier than expected.
BU will return to their home floor for a two game home-stand, facing Navy on the 6th at 7 p.m. They’ll then faced bottom-feeders Lafayette on the eighth, that one tips off at 2 p.m. Both games can be seen on the Patriot League Network, with an all WTBU crew calling each game.