By: Alex Smith
Despite Sophie Beaudry’s career high 27 points and 5 blocks, the Terriers fell 73-62 on the road to the Eagles and could not avenge last year’s playoff defeat.
BU trailed 34-33 at the break following a slow start, riding Beaudry’s 14 first half points to climb back into it. They trailed by eight just minutes in, but Courtney Latham beat the first half buzzer to make it a one-point game headed into the locker room.
In the second half BU simply couldn’t keep pace. Defensive breakdowns led to back-to-back corner threes from Kaitlyn Lewis, who is a top-5 3-pt shooter in the entire NCAA. The Terriers never recovered from those mental errors, and though they shot a blistering 50% from the field (25-50), the Eagles registered a whopping 14 more shot attempts in the game, going 27-64.
Despite having a favorable match-up down low, the Terriers lost the rebound battle and were outscored 34-28 in the paint. Terriers not named Beaudry simply didn’t get into the lane whatsoever, and the 10 second-chance points AU scored ended up being the biggest difference in an 11-point defeat. This game also marked the first time this season that BU has been defeated when scoring more than 60 points.
BU’s 1-2-2 zone, which has been their most effective defense this season, was responsible for their rebounding woes. The Eagles found the soft spots, especially in the third quarter, throwing it into the corner on every possession. This forced BU’s bigs to come out and guard the ball in the corner.
Poor closeouts led to dribble drives, and the weak-side post was needed to contest the shot. This left nobody in the lane to collect the rebound, and AU profited from the overload repeatedly. Their second and third-chance opportunities killed BU, who refused to leave the zone long after it was clearly ineffective.
Nia Irving and Naiyah Thompson both struggled mightily in the game, as Thompson fouled out (Editorial Note: questionable officiating has played a role in every Patriot League Women’s Basketball game this season. Seriously, can they get the same refs and the same rules as the men’s games? Touch fouls are completely ruining the watchability of these games). Irving has yet to truly integrate within BU’s offense, often forcing up bad shots and looking for fouls. It seems early on in her career she’s struggling to adjust to a bench role after averaging 25 points at Lawrence High in Maine.
In her big night against Lehigh she attempted 13 foul shots, but whistles have not come her way as frequently. She seems poised to average a double-double at some point in her career, and her immense talent could not be more clear, but right now there is an obvious disconnect between the way the coaching staff wants her to fit in as a role player and burden she feels inclined to undertake out on the floor.
In the end the defeat is a frustrating one for a much improved BU team. They were the more talented side, and wasted a fantastic offensive performance not just by Beaudry, but the entire team. Losing a game in which you shot 50% means play in the defensive areas just wasn’t good enough. It’s back to the drawing board for coach Steding and her staff as they try to correct BU’s rebounding woes.
BU will return to Case Gym on Saturday for a 2 p.m. tip off with Loyola Maryland. The contest can be seen on the Patriot League Network. Alex Smith and Channing Curtis will be on the call.