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No. 11/15 St. John’s next opponent for BU

The Boston University women’s basketball team returns home Saturday afternoon after a four-game road trip to take on No. 11/15  St. John’s University at Case Gymnasium at 1 p.m.

The Terriers (4–3) played well on both sides of the ball against the University of Rhode Island, winning 54-29, after a tough 67-58 loss to the University of Michigan.

The team shot close to 40 percent from the field. It got solid contributions from senior guards Chantell Alford and Mo Moran, who dropped 17 and 13 points, respectively.

While the team looked strong on the offensive side of the ball, defense was key in the victory. The Terriers allowed only 29 points, with an especially strong first half, in which they allowed only nine points. Turnovers played a large part in BU’s success, as the Terriers made the Rams turn the ball over a staggering 14 times.

“It wasn’t the prettiest game early,” said coach Kelly Greenberg. “But I’m happy with the play and the momentum it gives us.”

Although the Terriers made it look easy against URI (2–4), Saturday’s matchup will be more of a challenge. For the second time this season, the Terriers will be taking on a top-20 team at home. In the first such game, they fell to West Virginia University in a tight contest. In that game, the Terriers played with  a seven-man rotation.

“I don’t think about subs before the game,” Greenberg said. “During the game I just get a gut feeling and see who’s been playing well.”

The Red Storm (4–1) have been one of the most consistent teams in recent history in women’s college basketball, reaching the NCAA tournament the past three years. Last season they advanced to the Sweet 16, where they fell to Duke University.

The Red Storm have won more than 20 games in back-to-back seasons, winning 24 games last season. The Storm are led by a strong first-year coach in Joe Tartamella, who served under Kim Barnes Arico, the all-time -winningest coach in St. John’s history, for the past four seasons.

St. John’s has gotten off to a quick start to the season. After dropping its first game of the season to the University of Texas by 10 points, the Red Storm have won four straight games, most recently defeating the Terriers’ America East foe, University of Hartford.

Through the early part of the season, St. John’s is shooting 44.6 percent from the field, leading to a team average of 68.4 points per game. It is also holding opponents to 33.1 percent from the field, translating into an average of only 56 points per game.

The Red Storm have shot well from the foul line compared to the Terriers. While the Terriers have struggled with free throws, hitting only 49 percent from the charity stripe, St. John’s has hit 70.5 percent of its free throws.

The Red Storm have been getting contributions throughout the lineup. Guards Shenneika Smith, Nadirah McKenith and Briana Brown are each averaging double-digit points per game. With three players who can score with efficiency, the Terriers will have their hands full.

Although St. John’s has a praised three-way attack, Smith appears to be its top threat. Through the early part of the season, she is averaging a double-double with 20.8 points and 11.5 rebounds per game.

Scoring is not Smith’s only strength, as she has also been strong defensively. She has already tallied 16 steals and 12 blocks. Smith’s performance last week earned her Big East Conference Player of the Week honors.

“We have to mix it up against them,” Greenberg said. “We’re very scout-specific and it won’t be similar to what we did against Rhode Island.”

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