By: Rusty Gorelick
Boston University’s women’s basketball team had a roller coaster of a game against American University on Wednesday night. The Terriers dug themselves into a huge hole in the first half, and though they fought hard in the second half, the deficit proved too much to overcome as BU fell 64-51.
BU sat in third place in the Patriot League going into the game, with the Eagles sitting just ahead in second place, but the difference between the two teams looked greater during their matchup.
The Terriers’ top scorer Nia Irving had a tough challenge, as she played against 6-foot-3 AU center Cecily Carl, but Irving showed no fear early on. She hit an elbow jumper for her team’s first points of the game and followed that up with a driving layup from the post, which she sunk over Carl.
Despite BU’s 12-rebound advantage on the boards, despite Carl’s foul trouble, and despite BU’s seven-point advantage regarding second-chance points, they could not close the gap they fell into early. The Terriers turned the ball over nine times in the first quarter alone and went scoreless for the second half of the first quarter as well.
American played dynamic defense: they jumped countless BU passes, trapped ball handlers at the baseline, and contested shots so the Terriers hit just three of their 18 three-point attempts.
“We just have to be able to take advantage of more backdoor action, be able to be more physical and strong with the ball,” BU coach Marisa Moseley said. “I think they poked the ball away from us a lot and they really collapsed in the paint, and we just kept trying to go inside and we’re just going to have to come up with a better game plan.”
BU came out of halftime on a mission. They cut American’s lead down to seven, but they could not give themselves that final push to worry AU.
“I think we just talked about that we had to make sure we were attacking and taking advantage of their overplays so that we could try to get some backdoors,” Moseley said. “We were a little bit more aggressive offensively in that quarter when we made our run, but when you dig yourself a hole in the first half like we did, that was the game right there.”
Regardless of the score, the Terriers have positives to take away from the game. They did not roll over after falling into a double-digit deficit and fought until the end, producing some good plays in the process.
Payton Hauck started to take over late in the game. She finished with 12 points, five boards, and two steals, and she made some inspired hustle plays to try and keep her team in the game, such as slicing her opponents’ defense and pushing through two AU players to grab an offensive rebound in the fourth quarter.
Despite BU’s best efforts with Hauck and Irving leading, a series of threes from the Eagles put the game away. Indeya Sanders hit two long balls late in the game and Carl added another one from long range. Carl also earned an and-1 which put the nail in the coffin for Boston University.
The Terriers will try to end their three-game losing streak when they visit seventh-placed Navy on Saturday in another Patriot League matchup.