By: Andrew Mason
EASTON, Pa. — The 2017-18 Terriers were eliminated on Saturday after a 66-61 loss to the Leopards of Lafayette. BU finishes the year with a 10-19 overall record, 5-14 against Patriot League opponents.
Saturday’s contest held all the components of a great playoff game: big time baskets, players wearing emotions on their sleeves, and a lead that bounced back and forth all day.
“Playoffs has a more competitive vibe than the regular season,” said junior guard Naiyah Thompson (three points, two rebounds). “It’s all or nothing, there’s no ‘one more game.’ That’s it.”
However, the scarlet and white proved unable to close out the final moments of yet another important contest.
As the two minute mark approached, freshman Katie Nelson (11 points, two assists) hit a clutch floater to tie the game at 60 points a piece. The Leopards answered right back, hitting shots on their next two possessions. With the lead and the shot clock turned off, Lafayette won the ensuing “free throw game,” and ultimately took home the playoff win.
The loss marks the fourth straight year BU failed to grab a victory in the Patriot League Tournament, still winless in the postseason under fourth-year Head Coach Katy Steding.
Terrier senior Corrine Williams (13 points, three rebounds, three steals) led all scorers for BU, while sophomore forward Nia Irving added 12 points and seven rebounds.
It took just about the entire season, but BU’s 2-2-1 press finally looked elite against Lafayette, large in part by the in-your-face pressure give from junior Payton Hauck (eight points, five steals) and senior Sophie Beaudry (12 points, seven rebounds).
But in general, the game presented the same fundamental mishaps that have plagued the Terriers all season long.
Despite Williams’ 8-of-9 shooting performance from the line, BU finished at 55 percent (11-of-20) from the charity stripe. For the season, the Terriers shot 64.5 percent, ninth in the conference.
The scarlet and white recorded 18 turnovers on Saturday, ending the year with 16.8 per contest, good for seventh in the PL.
The first-round loss also became the ninth time BU lost a game by single digits. Many of the losses seen in the second half of the season came from the Terriers’ inability to convert on game-tying or go-ahead buckets in the final minutes.
Next season will be Steding’s first year working solely with players that were recruited under her coaching staff, and she has an impressive group of freshmen talent coming in next season. With five seniors – including both captains – graduating, the returning upperclassmen are set to fill the leadership roles now left vacated. Aside from Thompson, next year’s seniors include Hauck and Lauren Spearman.
Are they ready to take on the responsibility?
“We don’t really have a choice anymore,” Thompson said with a laugh. “But I think we’ll be okay. We had an amazing group of seniors to learn from.”