It was a familiar scene Wednesday night at Case Gym. For the second consecutive year, the Boston University women’s basketball team faced the University at Albany in search of its 14th straight victory. And for the second consecutive year, the Terriers (16–4, 6–1 America East) fell to Albany (16–3, 7–0 America East), this time by a score of 57–50.
The first half was a struggle for the Terriers, as they failed to muster any sort of offense. Albany came out with a full-court press, which forced BU into taking poor shots and making sloppy passes.
In the early stages of the game it was clear that the pressure was getting to the Terrier offense. Within the first five minutes of the game, the team turned the ball over three times, which seemed to preview the rest of the half. BU ended up committing 14 turnovers.
Turnovers were not the only cause for concern. BU also had difficulty putting the ball in the basket. The team only hit five field goals in the first half, putting it at 23.8 percent shooting from the field. BU also shot just 3-for-11 from behind the arc, which has been one of the team’s strengths all year.
BU’s leading scorer, senior guard Chantell Alford, scored seven points, but went just 2-for-9 from the field.
“That’s [Albany’s] game plan. To be physical, press a little bit, trying to make things happen in the full court,” said BU Coach Kelly Greenberg. “We had 14 turnovers, which is extremely uncharacteristic of us.”
In addition to its defense, the Albany offense also came out red-hot, shooting 50 percent from the field. Albany scored 33 points in the first half, 26 of which came from inside the paint. This domination was in large part due to New Zealand native, 6-foot-8 center Megan Craig. The sophomore only played eight minutes of the first half, but scored eight points.
“We tried to push her off the block as much as possible,” Greenberg said. “When she catches and shoots, there’s not much we can do.”
With Craig and the rest of the Albany squad dominating the paint — grabbing 22 rebounds to BU’s 10 — they built a commanding 33–17 lead over BU after one half of play.
However, the Terriers refused to let the game end so decisively. The team clawed its way back, and looked to make an improbable comeback.
Although in the early minutes of the second half Albany held a 21-point lead, the Terriers began to chip away at the lead and looked to pull ahead. Led by the defensive efforts of senior guards Kristen Sims and Chantell Alford, the Terriers finally found an offensive rhythm, pulling within striking distance of Albany’s lead. Both Sims and Alford had key steals that gave the Terriers ample chances to make the comeback.
BU improved its field goal shooting in the second half, shooting 32.1 percent from the field. Junior guard Danielle Callahan provided the spark in the second half, hitting a pair of clutch treys. The improved shooting, coupled with BU’s strong defense — which held Albany scoreless for nearly five minutes — allowed BU to pull within three points at 47–44, with 2:46 remaining in regulation.
“I thought the second half was a true BU team out there,” Greenberg said. “We never gave up, and chipped away at it. We got some stops and rebounded and pushed it a little bit.”
Although it seemed as if BU had the momentum and a great chance of pulling out a victory, things slipped away in the blink of an eye. With 1:56 to go, guard Ebone Henry got a steal on Kristen Sims and put in a wide-open layup, giving Albany a five-point lead.
After that possession, BU failed to score and was forced to foul, which put guard Lindsey Lowrie on the line four times. She went 7-for-8 from the charity stripe, effectively sealing the victory.
In the end, the Terriers fell to Albany, 57–50, despite their valiant effort in the second half.
“I thought the difference in the game was the first half,” Greenberg said. “We were out of whack a bit offensively.”
The Terriers will look to bounce back as they take on the University of Maryland-Baltimore County this Saturday at 2 p.m. in Baltimore.