By: Ethan Fuller
BOSTON, MA — Marisa Moseley’s first playoff win at the helm of Boston University women’s basketball was not the dream game she drew up.
“I felt a little relief,” she said on taking home the victory, “but it wasn’t exactly about my first win in the playoffs. I was just thinking about winning the game, and how weird that game was.”
In a stagnant defensive battle, the second-seeded Terriers (18-12, 12-6 PL) hung on for a 46-44 triumph against no. 7 American University (13-17, 8-10 PL), netting their first postseason win in over five years. BU advances to its first conference semifinal as a member of the Patriot League and will host sixth-ranked Lehigh.
The game was a slog — Moseley noted that “there was no flow” for either team. BU won the battle of the boards but committed 20 turnovers to American’s nine. The Terriers shots a dismal 36 percent from the field; the Eagles managed just a 34 percent clip. Sixteen of BU’s 46 points came at the free throw line.
After the third quarter saw a combined nine points scored, the Terriers finally broke through with a 19-point fourth quarter and a 66.7 percent shooting effort. To freshman center Maren Durant, the key to staying locked in offensively came from a “play-by-play” approach.
“Whatever happened on the last play, if something didn’t go our way, we can put it on offense or try to get a stop on defense,” she said.
Buckets were hard to come by, but BU battled on the glass Monday, outrebounding the Eagles 40-22. Leading the charge was Durant, who grabbed a career-high 15 boards to go with 12 points in a double-double effort.
Perhaps even more notable were the fouls (or lack of) attributed to Durant. The All-Rookie and All-Defense team member had picked up three or more fouls in each of the last four games, but was able to play a season-high 38 minutes without whistles warranting a substitution.
“I knew when we were down at American [a February road loss] I fouled out, so that was something where I really tried to not cut down or body people,” Durant said. “I know it’s not an overnight fix, but I was proud of that for myself.”
Durant’s improved discipline also came at a cost; Moseley saw that the freshman was hesitant inside in an effort to avoid fouling. Next is for Durant to find that balance of aggression and discipline.
“[Durant] also really didn’t move her feet much to put herself in position to foul anybody,” she said. “But we told her how important it was and how crucial for her and Nia [Irving] to be available and not in foul trouble. So I think she really heeded that advice.”
Both sides’ guards effectively locked each other down, meaning it was up to Durant and Riley Childs to create shots for themselves in the Terrier frontcourt. Childs only managed seven points, but did hit a key three-pointer late in the game and also corralled 10 rebounds.
In the first college playoff game ever for Durant, Sydney Johnson and Maggie Pina, the nerves expectedly showed themselves. But like all season, those nerves came with a level of energy that the rookies generally sustained throughout the victory.
“There were definitely some anxious jitters, said Durant, “but also with excitement.”
“We’re still learning, we’re still growing,” added Moseley. “It’s their first time in the postseason, they want it really bad, but they’re also nervous. So I think it was a combination of all of that.”
With the gridlock of a quarterfinal out of the way, BU will shift its focus to Lehigh, who upset Colgate on the Raiders’ home court Monday night. The Mountain Hawks sit as a sixth-seed, but they have played the Terriers tough twice, winning 51-34 at Lehigh before losing by one point at Case Gym less than two weeks ago.
The Terriers will host Lehigh on Thursday, with tip-off scheduled for 6:00 p.m.
Featured image by Perry Sosi.