Despite a career-high 30 points from senior guard Chantell Alford, the Boston University women’s basketball team was defeated by West Virginia University 60–57 in a nail-biter Monday night at Case Gymnasium.
With the loss, the Terriers fall to 1–1 on the year while the Mountaineers, who were BU’s highest ranked opponent since 2007, improve to 2–0 on the year.
The first half was a back-and-forth affair between the Terriers and the Mountaineers. There were three lead changes, and both teams had their own five-point lead in the first half.
After a brief 5–0 run by the Terriers, led by the great interior scoring of junior forward Rashidat Agboola and a clutch 3-pointer from senior guard Mo Moran, BU took a 33–28 lead over the heavily favored Mountaineers into halftime.
The Terriers boasted an impressive 55.6 field goal percentage in the first half, while the Mountaineers only managed a paltry 27.8 field goal percentage.
“We talked a lot about [WVU’s] size and their quickness, and our goal was to really keep them in front,” said BU coach Kelly Greenberg. “’Let’s not let them get layups,’ and I thought that we did a great, great job of that in the first half … We played, man, I was expecting to play a lot of zone tonight, but we came out so strong on our man that I was like ‘the heck with our zone, we’re staying with it and we’re going to keep being aggressive with this team.’”
The Terriers continued their great play in the second, at one point leading by eight points with 12:32 remaining in the game. But an 8–0 run by the Mountaineers tied the game up at 45 apiece with 10:33 remaining.
With less than three minutes to go, the Mountaineers had a 57–50 lead. But a 7–0 run by the Terriers was capped by two clutch Alford free throws that tied the game at 57 apiece with only 29 seconds remaining.
“You’re just there on the line by yourself, and you know you have to make it, and it’s just about taking your time and doing what you know how to do,” Alford said about her free throws. “I was just thankful that they went in.”
With the final possession of the game, WVU senior center Ayanna Dunning got to the free throw line, sinking one of two shots before getting the chance to shoot another pair after an offensive rebound. Dunning effectively iced the game when she converted her final two free throws.
With less than two seconds remaining in the game, Alford threw up a desperate half-court shot that banged off the rim as time expired.
BU finished the second half with a 27.6 field goal percentage, as well as a 33 percent free throw percentage.
“It was really intense,” Greenberg said. “Every play was like the last play in the Super Bowl. I just thought that we were extremely tough. I am really, really proud of them, and I just told them that this is not a moral victory for us, we really felt like we could have won that game, in a lot of ways we should have if we had knocked down our free throws a little bit … We have some things to fix, but again our overall effort was tremendous.”
Alford echoed Greenberg’s pride in the team’s effort.
“It was a tough one,” Alford said. “We know that West Virginia is a very good team, but we just wanted to go out there and play our basketball, and we were able to do that. We just fell a little short.”
The Terriers will end their homestand on Friday with a game against Richmond at Case Gym. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.