By: Andrew Mason
Dating back to last season, it has been 308 days since the Boston University women’s basketball squad snagged a win outside of Case Gym. With a 66-55 loss to UMass Amherst on Wednesday, the Terriers fell to 0-4 on the road this year, while remaining a perfect 4-0 at home.
“I’m honestly not sure what it is going on with our away games this year,” said Terrier stretch forward Naiyah Thompson. “We just can’t seem find an extra gear when we need it, but we have to find a way to put a game together on the road.”
BU was without key scorers Nia Irving (13.7 ppg) and Payton Hauck (10 ppg) against the Minutewomen, who both sat with minor injuries. Thompson led BU in scoring in their absence, boasting 15 points to go with six rebounds and four assists.
Playing a full 40 minutes, Thompson was an important focal point of much of the Terrier’s offense, often beating her defender off the dribble to make a play at the rim or to get fouled.
“The coaches warned us that UMass plays really active and aggressive on defense,” said Thompson, who went 5-9 from the free-throw line. “It’s usually easier to get players like that to foul.”
As a team, the scarlet and white shot a season-high 49 percent from the field on Wednesday (previously 48 percent vs. Delaware). Senior Lauren Spearman added 14 points and a pair of steals, while freshman Chiara Tibbit grabbed a career-high 14 points off 6-8 shooting.
Tibbit is the latest example of a trend brewing inside this basketball team: freshmen stepping up.
With Riley Childs dropping 17 points in a recent loss at Dartmouth, and Ashley Seiper adding valuable bench minutes, the Class of 2022 has certainly proved itself so far in this young season.
“I really enjoy playing with [Tibbit] – she works hard and she steps up when we need her,” said Thompson. “She knows where her spots on floor are and she doesn’t hesitate. We needed that [Wednesday] night.”
While shots were certainly falling, it was protecting the ball that plagued BU against UMass. The Terriers tallied 19 turnovers on Wednesday, the third time they reached at least that mark this season, while averaging 15.9 per game.
Valuing each possession was a major concern for the scarlet and white during their 2017-18 campaign, a season that saw 18.9 turnovers per game.
“Turnovers are our Achilles’ heel,” said Thompson. “[Head coach Marisa Moseley] sees that and has addressed it but there’s only so much she and the other coaches can do – lowering turnovers is our responsibility as players to fix.”
As for UMass, Hailey Leidel put up 21 points and six boards off 8-17 shooting, while Jessica George totaled 18 points, including a 4-8 showing from beyond the arc.
The Terrier’s chance to clean things up comes this weekend, as they make their way down Commonwealth Avenue to take on the Boston College Eagles. BC currently sits at 8-2 but has lost two of its last four contests, including a most recent 77-69 loss to Minnesota last Sunday.
For all Terrier fans, snagging the first road win of the season in the house of your rivals would be nothing short of sweet.
BU looks to make that a reality on Sunday inside Conte Forum. Tip-off is set for 4:00 p.m.