By: Andrew Mason
BOSTON — Boston University women’s basketball travels to the University of New Hampshire on Wednesday in hopes of winning two straight to start off the season for the first time since 2008. The Terriers (1-0) have had plenty of time to prepare for the winless Wildcats, as they have not played since last Friday’s season-opening victory over Northeastern.
Despite the thrill of an opening-night win, Head Coach Katy Steding did not lose sight of what her team did poorly. Perhaps the most notable was giving up 21 offensive rebounds to the Huskies. Failing to box out on defense against UNH on Wednesday is all but asking for a loss.
The Wildcats are led by a fabulous senior duo of bigs. Center Carlie Pogue and forward Kat Fogarty both stand at six-foot-two, and combined for 18 rebounds and 36 points in their season-opening loss to Xavier. If Terrier posts relax when a shot goes up, it is likely Pogue and Fogarty end up with the board and an easy put-back basket. In addition to Pogue and Fogarty, the rest of the Wildcats’ starting five are returning starters from a season ago.
“[The starting unit is] all seniors who are used to playing each other and are disciplined in their sets,” said Corinne Williams, senior co-captain for BU. “The big thing for us is to have a strong defensive presence and make their leading scorers take difficult, contested shots.”
It will be up to Williams, along with centers Sophie Beaudry and Kara Sheftic, to use their length to put a hand in the way Pogue and Fogarty’s inside shots. The three are the core of BU’s inside game both offensively and defensively, and combined for 45 percent of the team’s rebounds against Northeastern.
Even if the Terriers are aggressive going after loose balls and clean things up defensively, they will still need to take care of the ball on offense. Although they were able to surpass their 58-points-per-game goal on Friday, they committed 21 turnovers. Cutting down that turnover count opens up many more scoring opportunities.
The player most are eager to see back for BU is Payton Hauck. The junior guard led the Terriers with 15 points in just 17 minutes versus the Huskies, setting a new collegiate career high. As someone who had not been a go-to scoring option for BU in her first two years, Hauck has already established herself as a major component of this Terrier offense. Wednesday she can continue to prove her case.
BU and UNH met in late November of last season, in a 59-51 win for the Wildcats. UNH went on to finish a program-best 26-6, securing its first-ever America East regular season championship.
BU squares off against the UNH on Wednesday, Nov. 15, with tip-off scheduled for 7 p.m. inside Lundholm Gymnasium in Durham, N.H.