By: Andrew Mason
BOSTON — Despite a 17-2 last-ditch run by the Eagles, Boston University’s efforts were just enough on Sunday afternoon as the Terriers took down crosstown rival Boston College, 61-57. The scarlet and white move to 3-2 on the year, with a week-long road trip next up on the schedule.
The Terriers’ first victory over BC in the Katy Steding era came in large part from their defense. Employing a 1-2-2 press for the majority of the contest, BU held the Eagles to 57 points, the first time BU’s opponent have scored less than 72 points in a game all season.
“[The press] forced [BC] to slow down and over think,” said junior Naiyah Thompson, whose length was utilized on the full-court press’s middle line for much of the game.
BU also defended the perimeter well, limiting BC to 14.3 percent (3-for-21) from 3-point country.
Offensively, the Terriers got off to a slow start, and were plagued by foul trouble early on. After sitting in the first quarter with two quick fouls, point guard Katie Nelson heated up from beyond the arc, knocking down five threes to go with four steals and three assists.
“We had some great drives into the paint which forced their defense to help out, leaving many of our shooters open,” Nelson said.
Nelson would finish as the leading scorer, dropping her second 19-point performance in a row. The freshman leads the Patriot League in 3-pointers per game (3.4) and 3-point percentage (48.6). Nelson, who played shooting guard throughout high school, said her experience playing on the wing has given her the confidence to shoot deep shots at the collegiate level.
The freshman floor general was helped out by senior co-captain Corinne Williams, who notched 10 points and eight boards with a sore left wrist. Meanwhile, Thompson tallied her first collegiate double-double off 11 points and 10 rebounds. Thompson’s start to the 2017-18 season was rather lackluster, fouling out in two of the first four contests. After making the appropriate adjustments, she was able to get back on track Sunday.
“I was just in a groove today,” Thompson said. “I talked to Coach Chase and Coach Blodgett about my fouls being related to being behind on plays and not being in gaps. Addressing that and not having to worry about foul trouble really helped.”
BU held the Eagles to just eight points in the third quarter, the least a Terrier opponent put up in a frame all season. The scarlet and white continued the pressure heading into the fourth quarter, taking a commanding 59-40 lead with just over five minutes remaining. However, BC would have an answer.
The Eagles took one last swing, answering BU’s heat with a 17-2 run of their own. BC installed a blistering full-court man-to-man press, forcing turnovers that led to easy buckets. Nonetheless, the Terriers were able to hold on for the close victory, their first against BC since 2012.
“Creating a cushion is what kept us in it,” Thompson said. “If we hadn’t had such a big lead, they could’ve won.”
BU moves to 2-0 at Case Gym, and has now won more non-conference games this season (3) than in all of 2016 (2).
Next up, the Terriers hit the road as they head to Smithfield, R.I. to take on the Bryant Bulldogs of the Northeast Conference. The contest is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 29 inside Chase Athletic Center.