By: Andrew Mason
As the clock ticks on the final hours of the Patriot League regular season, the Boston University Terriers are preparing to fly down to Baltimore, Md. to take on the Greyhounds of Loyola University.
With the rights to host the now-inevitable first round play–in game of the PL Tournament on the line, BU (10-17, 5-11 Patriot League) needs to put the emotions of the weekend in the past and secure the season sweep over Loyola (8-20, 6-10 Patriot League) .
On Saturday against the Army West Point Black Knights, the Terriers experienced just about the highest highs and the lowest lows you can in the game of basketball.
The annual Senior Day celebration honored veterans Erin Bayram, Meghan Doogan, Sophie Beaudry, Corrine Williams and Kara Sheftic. The occasion brought friends and family to Case Gym to watch what could be the last home game for the class of 2018.
Williams (nine points, seven rebounds), who hails from Bloomfield, Conn., saw about 40 members of her family, friends, former teachers and teammates make their way to BU’s campus to support the co-captain and her fellow seniors.
“I had no idea that many people were going to be there but it was an amazing surprise,” Williams said. “The environment was indescribable.”
In a scrappy and low-scoring first 10 minutes of action, it was Williams who got the entire crowd fired up after an emphatic block on Army’s star junior Madison Hovren.
“Hovren and I got into a tripping incident in the first game and I was pretty upset that the ref didn’t make the call,” said Williams, referencing the Terriers’ 60-59 win in West Point, N.Y. in late December. “But after that block I’d call us even.”
As both teams remained close throughout the entirety of the contest, the scarlet and white found themselves in a much too familiar situation down the stretch: down by a single possession with the ball. And as has been the pattern all season, the Terriers did not live up to the moment.
Trailing 48-47, the ball was inbounded to Beaudry (eight points, four rebounds) just off the right elbow. The center pitched the rock back to junior Naiyah Thompson (seven points, two rebounds), who put up the mid-range shot at the buzzer for the win.
The shot clanged off the back iron, signaling the fourth loss in a row for BU. The Terriers moved to 3-4 in games decided by a single possession.
“We need to focus more in the early minutes of the fourth quarter to try and avoid having the games come down to the final possession,” Williams admits. “[But when games do come down to the wire], we just need to continue to rely on our strengths and get the ball where it belongs.”
Looking forward to the upcoming game against the Greyhounds, the Terriers face two possible scenarios.
The not so favorable outcome: a loss forces the Terriers to travel to either Holy Cross, Lafayette or Loyola – for the second time in three days – for the first round play-in game of the PL Tournament.
The favorable outcome: a win secures home-court advantage. The last time the scarlet and white played Loyola, BU came away with its most promising victory of the season, 75-56, in early January.
Despite the win, BU still had trouble stopping Loyola’s sophomore Stephanie Karcz. The Red Bank, N.J. guard turned on the jets inside Case Gym, recording 23 points, 13 rebounds, five steals and three assists.
Freshman Isabella Therien has also developed tremendously since the Terriers saw her last. The forward is coming off a 17 point, 7 rebound and four steal performance in a win over Navy. She now leads the Greyhounds with 15.1 points per game.
“Our goal is to win Wednesday and let the chips fall where they may,” Williams said.
The Terriers control their own fate as they take on the Greyhounds on Wednesday, Feb. 28, inside Reitz Arena. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.