Despite trailing by two points with just 1:36 left in the game, the Boston University women’s basketball team stepped up in crunch time and defeated the University of Hartford, 42–40, in front of a packed crowd at Case Gym Saturday afternoon.
The win is the second in a row for BU (18–4, 8–1 America East), and also marks the Terriers’ second-straight season sweep of the Hawks (14–8, 5–4 America East).
“It was a typical BU-Hartford game,” said BU coach Kelly Greenberg. “We just kept plugging away and didn’t allow ourselves to be down when we weren’t getting some shots and we were missing some shots that we were getting.”
The teams went back and forth to start the game, trading baskets for the first seven minutes. However, thanks to the combined efforts of forwards Ruthanne Doherty and Taylor Clark, the Hartford Hawks went on an 8–0 run to break the 10–10 stalemate.
BU fought back, as senior guard Mo Moran hit the Terriers’ only 3-pointer of the afternoon and junior guard Danielle Callahan hit two free throws, bringing the deficit back down to one in the final minutes of the half. But the Hawks answered with some free throws of their own and entered halftime with a 22–19 lead.
Both teams struggled to hit shots in the first half, as the Terriers only made 21.4 percent (6-of-28) of their field goal attempts, and the Hawks only connected on 29.6 percent (8-of-27) of their shots. Hartford also did not make a single 3-pointer in the half, despite seven attempts.
The Terriers came out hot to start the second half, going on an 8–0 run to take a 27–22 lead 4:20 into the frame.
“We kind of got things going in the open floor,” Greenberg said. “I think there was a lot of strategy going on out there … I think at the half, our team said ‘All right already, we can’t make a shot, let’s figure this out.’”
Despite the run by the Terriers, the Hawks, after hitting two free throws, responded with an 11–6 run of their own, ending with Hartford’s only 3-pointer of the game to give the Hawks a 35–33 lead with just under eight minutes remaining.
Neither team scored for the next four minutes, until a free throw from BU junior forward Rashidat Agboola made it a one-point game with a little over four minutes to go.
However, Hartford answered with two scores and a free throw, and despite a score by BU senior guard Chantell Alford, the Hawks held a 40–36 lead more than 18 minutes into the half.
Alford brought the deficit down to two with a jumper. Then, fter a turnover by Hartford, the defending America East Player of the Year hit a tough layup while drawing a foul. Alford hit the shot from the line to give BU a 41–40 lead with 1:07 remaining.
“It felt great,” Alford said when asked how it felt to hit the and-one shot that gave BU the lead for good. “My emotions were just out there on the floor. We needed it.”
BU’s defense continued to step up in the final minutes of the game, creating another Hartford turnover that forced the Hawks to foul Alford with four seconds remaining.
“Our defense was like, ‘OK, we’ve got to win this game,’ and ‘let’s not let them score,’” Greenberg said. “We got the defensive stops we needed.”
Alford hit her first free throw to give the Terriers a 42–40 lead and missed her second, but an offensive rebound from junior forward Whitney Turner helped the Terriers seal the victory.
Alford, who scored the final eight points for the Terriers, led the team in scoring with 12 points. Agboola finished the game with 10 rebounds.
BU ended the game with a 32.0 field goal percentage (16-of-50), while Hartford hit 34.1 percent (15-of-44) of its shots. Both teams only hit one 3-pointer, and Hartford edged out BU in rebounding, 35–31.
BU will look to continue its great conference play Wednesday night with a home game against Stony Brook University. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.