By: Ethan Fuller
BOSTON, MA — The clamps were on for BU in their 62-49 win against the University of Maine on Sunday.
Maine shot just 35 percent from the floor and managed only 18 points in the first half of a gritty defensive battle between the Terriers (2-1) and the reigning America East champion Black Bears (1-2).
Senior forward and Maine native Nia Irving led the way in her homecoming game, scoring 20 points and grabbing nine rebounds while setting the tone with her physicality and energy. Irving struggled with turnovers (eight on the game), but countered with her most efficient performance of the season, converting six of her eight shots and eight of nine free throws.
Irving led the way for the Terriers, but the rest of the starting lineup got in on the scoring action. Sydney Johnson and Katie Nelson, with 12 and 13 points respectively, now have scored double-digit points together in all three contests. Annabelle Larnard posted one of her best stat lines of the season, making three of five triples on the way to 11 points.
Controlling the glass is quickly becoming a signature strength for the Terriers. The team is averaging a seven-rebound edge over its first three games and saw four players record at least four rebounds on Sunday: Irving (9), Larnard (8), Riley Childs (5) and Maren Durant (4).
The Black Bears made just one of their 11 attempts inside the arc in the first half and saw only two players score. Leading scorer Blanca Millan went down with a head injury early in the first half, dealing a blow to Maine’s offense.
Millan returned for the second half and scored ten points, but was not able to get Maine back into the contest. A 7-2 run out of halftime pushed BU’s lead to double digits, and they maintained the gap throughout the remainder of the game.
For Maine, Dor Saar proved lethal from beyond the arc, with her 21 points coming behind six three-pointers. But outside of Saar and Millan, the Black Bears made just 6 of 26 shots.
After losing every single non-conference road game last year, the Terriers are now 2-0 on their initial trip, with one more left to play. They’ll face a third America East opponent in 1-3 Albany on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. The Great Danes have an overtime win to their name against Columbia and a shared loss with BU in their 24-point defeat at the hands of Marist College.
BU’s interior defense will face a tougher test against Albany. Senior center Alexi Schecter is off to a hot start, scoring 16.8 points per game across her first four contests. Only one Terrier rotation player — Maren Durant — matches the 6-3 size of Schecter. BU must continue to play with toughness and energy inside if they hope to fend off Schecter and the Great Danes.
Featured image courtesy of Brady Gardner.