By: Andrew Mason
BOSTON — The Terriers dropped their fourth contest in a row on Wednesday night after a tight Patriot League clash with the 8-11 Leopards of Lafayette College. After starting the season with a 5-2 record, BU now sits tied for eighth place in Patriot League standings at 8-11 overall, 3-6 in league play.
Down 47-45 with 10 seconds to go, Katy Steding’s squad had two chances to either tie things up or pull ahead. Both attempts to do so ended in missed 3-pointers by left-handed guards Vanessa Edgehill (four points, three assists, two rebounds) and Katie Nelson (12 points, three rebounds).
Three of the last four losses have been decided by five or less points. Playing so many nail-biters but coming up short has inevitably left the Terriers frustrated.
“The mood [in the locker room postgame] was really somber,” said BU guard Naiyah Thompson (10 points, three rebounds). “I think everyone is thinking ‘What do we need to change? What aren’t we doing?’”
One thing the scarlet and white certainly have done in the midst of this dry spell is try to mix up the offense to better suit the strength of some of the players. This includes a fast–paced, drive-and-kick style offense that was on full display against the Leopards.
This type of ball movement often generates a flow that guards with above average athleticism like Thompson can take full advantage of. On Wednesday, she had her best scoring venture in two weeks.
“I definitely think the dribble-drive offense is a lot better for me,” Thompson said. “I am more of a slasher and driver and it really opens up the lanes.”
Freshman Katie Nelson received the ball off plenty of kick-outs, which she converted into four 3-pointers to land her a team-high 12 points. Nelson finished 4-of-12 shooting overall to go with a steal and three turnovers.
Although the guards seemed to find the bucket easier, the usually reliable Terrier “bigs” had trouble putting the ball through the basket. Senior centers Sophie Beaudry and Kara Sheftic, along with forwards Corrine Williams and Nia Irving, combined for just 6-of-18 shooting on the night.
Breaking a long stretch of losses in the middle of conference play is the biggest mental obstacle this team has had to face to date. But with nine games still remaining on the schedule, the Terriers have the time, not to mention the veteran presence, to dig themselves out of the hole.
“It’s important to remind my teammates of the hard games we won at the beginning of the season,” Thompson explained. “Northeastern and Delaware were games no one expected us to win. We need to rediscover the edge we had at the beginning of the season.”
The scarlet and white will take a break from playing at Case Gym, where they have been unsuccessful in six of their last seven games, as they next head out Lewisburg, Penn. to to face the Bucknell Bison. Tip-off is set for 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 27th inside Sojka Pavilion.
The 12-8 Bison (6-3 in league) are tied for third place in Patriot League rankings, and are coming off wins against Holy Cross and Navy. Taking down one of the conference’s best contenders would be a great way for the Terriers to get back on their feet and make a push before playoffs.
“We are one of the best teams in the conference this year,” said Thompson. “We need to start playing like it.”