Alford almost leads BU to upset

In its first game against a ranked opponent, the Boston University women’s basketball team (1–1) lost to the No. 14 West Virginia University (2–0) at home.

Junior guard Chantell Alford scored a team-high 30 points in the Terriers’ 60–57 loss to No. 17 West Virginia. MICHELLE JAY/DAILY FREE PRESS FILE PHOTO

During the 60–57 loss, senior guard Chantell Alford rose to the occasion in one of the best games of her collegiate career. Alford contributed 30 points, two assists and nine rebounds in 39 minutes of playing time, besting her former career-high of 29 points.

During 2011–12 season, the Terriers took on the Mountaineers in Morgantown, W.V., where Alford played a critical role in the BU offense. She finished the game with 17 points and four rebounds in 27 minutes of play.

Alford began the game with a hot hand, dribbling past an opponent on the left side and pulling up for a jump shot along the baseline. She then netted two free throws, scoring the Terriers’ first four points in a physical battle that was extremely tiring for each team. Alford was harassed all game, with a host of defenders attempting to cool off her sharp shooting. She finished the game tying her career high in 3-pointers with six.

“It was a tough one, we know that West Virginia is a really good team but we wanted to go out there and play our basketball,” Alford said. “And we were able to do that, we just fell a little bit short at the end, but it was a great game overall.”

The Mountaineers’ large, physical defense continued to wear down Alford, along with the rest of the Terrier team. They forced 23 turnovers in the game, four of which came from Alford.

The stifling defense, combined with Alford’s extended time on the court, caused fatigue that became an obstacle that the Terriers would have to overcome in order to stay competitive in the contest.

“You just have to push through it, we knew the game was close throughout,” Alford said. “But it was one of those things that you have to fight through.
BU coach Kelly Greenberg also said she noticed the effect fatigue had on the matchup.

“It played a part in the game in spots, not a whole lot in long stretches,” Greenberg said. “I thought at one point in the first that they looked tired.”

With less than five minutes left in the first, and the Terriers down 24–20, a run sparked by senior guard Mo Moran’s contested layup shifted the momentum to the BU side. The Terriers finished the half leading the Mountaineers, 33–28.

Alford set up senior guard Kristin Sims for a 3-pointer and junior forward Rashidat Agboola for an easy layup for her two assists, just before the end of the frame.

In the game’s closing minutes, with the outcome still in the balance, Alford assumed a critical role in the game. She took two free throws with 29 seconds remaining and the Terriers behind 57–55. In a silent gymnasium, Alford stepped to the line as the crowd waited intently and buried both free throws.

After a foul and a series of free throws put West Virginia in the lead by three, Alford was given the ball at the foul line. She heaved a shot from midcourt that rattled off the left side of the rim. Alford lay on the court exhausted by the loss.

“It was a great game,” Alford said. “Both teams battled back and forth.”

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