Women’s Basketball: Harvard defense suffocates in Tuesday night loss

By: Ethan Fuller

BOSTON, MA — Offense was simply hard to come by on Tuesday.

Boston University women’s basketball (3-2) shot just 24.1 percent from the floor in their 39-66 loss to Harvard University (5-2). The Terriers hit a major scoring drought in the middle two quarters, managing just four and eight points while being outscored by 23 in that span alone.

“Coming off of a stretch of not playing for a while, I figured it might take us a little bit to get going, but it just never seemed like we could get our feet under us,” head coach Marisa Moseley said.

“I mean, scoring four points and eight points in a quarter — that’s pretty rough.”

BU shot a combined 5-for-31 in the middle frames and made just two of their 20 three-point looks in the entire matchup. Only one Terrier made at least half of her shots — freshman Maren Durant, who converted her only field goal attempt on the night.

The team clearly lost confidence in the perimeter attack as the game went on, and Moseley said that a combination of hesitancy and misreads on offense contributed to the inefficiency.

“I think we thought that when [Harvard] switched that we were trying to force it inside, but they were packing it in so we were open on the perimeter,” she said. “I don’t know that we were ready with our feet set to knock in shots when we were open.”

Leading the way on the scoreboard for BU was freshman guard Maggie Pina, who despite a rough shooting night put up twelve points. Pina noticeably attacked the Crimson defense and provided a boost late in the game to stem the tide.

“Maggie is a fighter; she’s a really competitive kid,” Moseley said. “I know she can make shots, so it was nice to see her be that bright spot.”

Outside of Pina, senior Nia Irving was the only other Terrier to reach double figures. Harvard saw just two players cross the ten-point barrier as well. Lola Mullaney, who entered Tuesday shooting 29 percent from deep, caught fire in Case Gym, scoring a game-high 18 points while canning six of her ten threes.

The Terriers opened by double-teaming Jeannie Boehm in the low post but had to adjust course when Mullaney started rolling. She and the rest of the Crimson shot 43.5 percent from behind the arc, and rotating on the perimeter became a serious issue for BU.

“I thought zone helped us a little bit,” Moseley said, “but then we gave up a bunch of threes because we weren’t rotating… there was a lot going on.”

One Terrier Moseley gave props to defensively was Tenisha Pressley. The junior wing played a season-high 16 minutes in the loss, and while she made little impact in the box score, Moseley credited her with making some “great rotations” in an otherwise inconsistent zone defense.

A final positive from Tuesday’s rout can be found in the debut of BU’s final freshman — guard Liz Shean. After recovering from a torn ACL according to Moseley, Shean received six minutes of action, scoring her first two points and grabbing a steal in the fourth quarter.

“For her to have sat out for over a year of basketball with her ACL… to drive in and jump up and be like, ‘Hey, it’s gonna be okay,’ and then knock in some free throws — hopefully it’s a confidence-booster,” Moseley said.

BU now gets a Thanksgiving holiday break before traveling across the country to take on UC Davis in California. Tip-off for the faraway matchup is scheduled for 10:00 p.m.

Featured image courtesy of Hannah Yoshinaga.

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