The phrase, “defense wins championships,” is one of the most well known clichés in all of sports, but with the way the Boston University women’s basketball (6–3) team is playing lately, it is difficult to say it is not the truth.
In their previous two contests, the Terriers have played strong defense, only allowing 29 points to the University of Rhode Island, and holding then-No. 15/17 St. John’s University to 49 points and 30.6 percent shooting from the field.
Last night’s effort against the University of Massachusetts (2–7) saw the defense once again play at the top of its game, giving the Terriers their third consecutive victory by a score of 73–50.
Early in the contest, the Terriers came out with energy and looked to run away with the game. Although the team went on a 7–0 run to start the contest, it was not just the offense that was key, but the defense played strong, as well.
After UMass won the opening tip-off, the Terriers looked to jump on the ball, with senior guard Mo Moran getting a quick steal off a pass, then setting up fellow senior guard Chantell Alford with an easy bucket.
The very next possession for UMass saw the BU defense play with the same intensity again, this time leading to Minutewomen traveling violation.
While the team created nine first-half turnovers, the defense also held the UMass offense to only 26.7 percent shooting from the field in the first half.
The Terriers also didn’t allow UMass to hit one 3-pointer in the opening half, as the Minutewomen shot 0-for-9 from behind the 3-point arc.
“One of our game plans was personnel defense,” said BU coach Kelly Greenberg. “We were keeping people to their weaknesses. They have a few guards that don’t like to shoot the three, and they actually played into that.”
While the team as a whole was strong, two key players led the way for the Terriers. Junior forwards Whitney Turner and Rashidat Agboola played a huge role in the team’s success, and both were a forced to be reckoned with.
In the first half, Turner controlled the area near the basket, as the Minutewomen only scored 10 points in the painted area. She had two blocks and three defensive rebounds in an impressive first half effort.
Agboola accompanied Turner on the defensive end, getting a block and catching five defensive rebounds in the first half alone. Her continued pressure on the UMass shooters made scoring a very difficult task.
“I think things start with Rashidat [Agboola] and Whitney [Turner],” Greenberg said. “They are very intense. I felt they had a block or deflection on so many defensive possessions. Rashidat [Agboola] and Whitney [Turner] really start that. They play so darn hard.”
The first half didn’t end the continued pressure by the Terriers on the defensive front. Although the Minutewomen improved their shooting from the field to 40 percent, the BU defense made stops when it needed to.
Agboola and Turner once again stepped up, getting three blocks in the process, and grabbing three more rebounds on the defensive glass. Turner caught five more rebounds on the defensive end and grabbed another steal to go along with the nine second-half turnovers the Terriers created as whole.
The second half also saw some substitutes play roles in the Terriers’ defensive effort. Although junior guard Danielle Callahan and freshmen guard Katie Poppe did not get the most minutes on the floor, they both gave BU a spark off the bench. They each grabbed a steal and put pressure on the UMass shooters, forcing them to take poor shots.