Women’s Basketball: Improving road play is crucial for playoff hopes

 

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Senior Payton Hauck wipes the sweat during a timeout. Photo by Andrew Mason

By: Ethan Fuller

BOSTON, MA – Despite a tough loss to conference powerhouse American University on Tuesday, Boston University women’s basketball still sits third in the Patriot League standings. At 4-3 in the Patriot League (8-9 overall), the team has dropped from the top seed since their current three-game losing streak began.

The Terriers lead a chaotic middle tier that features six squads (BU, Lehigh, Navy, Army, Colgate and Holy Cross) within one game of each other. The shakedown of this pack will have enormous consequences on the Patriot League playoffs.

By holding onto the third seed, BU could lock in a first-round bye as well as home-field advantage in the quarterfinals. This would be a critical edge for Marisa Moseley’s team. Though they’ve lost the past two home games, the Terriers still maintain a stellar 6-2 record when defending Case Gym.

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Head Coach Marisa Moseley talks to her team during a break. Photo by Andrew Mason

In contrast, dropping to the bottom of the group could leave Boston University as low as eighth in the standings, meaning they would play the ninth seed in the tournament’s first round. With an already thin rotation, BU’s starting five would benefit greatly from a break.

Every win counts in such a tight conference. For the Terriers, this means stepping up road performances. The next road trip, which features games against 3-4 Navy and 2-5 Lafayette, is a winnable series that would prove huge for the team’s momentum.

BU has struggled on the road this season, posting a dismal 2-7 record overall. While one of their wins came against an impressive opponent in Bucknell, the other was a two-point overtime squeaker versus Loyola Maryland, a team just 2-16 on the whole year. Of their seven losses, six have been double-digit blowouts.

The poor play shows up in the team’s offensive stats. The Terriers average a solid 60 points per contest, but they’ve eclipsed 60 points just three times on the road. Scoring consistently will be a key focus area on this road trip.

Rebounding also becomes a trouble area on the road. Though the Terriers grab 34.5 boards per game, they’ve hit that number just twice on the road. BU has a multitude of capable rebounders in Naiyah Thompson, Nia Irving and Riley Childs. Their continued effort on the glass, coupled with more intensity from other players, should help.

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Freshman Riley Childs passes the ball up court. Photo by Andrew Mason

So far, BU has stepped up on the road in conference play. They’re 2-1 with aforementioned wins against Bucknell and Loyola Maryland, as well as a close loss to Holy Cross.

Boston University has six road matchups remaining on their regular season slate, and four of them come against opponents in that middle group of the Patriot League. Stealing wins away from home are critical in the race for a first-round bye. The coming trip is a turning point for this season, and hopefully the Terriers are ready.

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