Another day, another matchup against a local rival for the Boston University women’s basketball team.
After losing their home opener to Northeastern University by a score of 72-63, the Terriers (0-1) will be looking to rebound with a win Wednesday night as they travel to play Harvard University in their first road game of the young season.
BU started Friday’s game on a strong note despite losing three starters — senior guards Mo Moran, Chantell Alford and Kristen Sims — from last year. Senior guard Danielle Callahan had an impressive effort against the Huskies (1-0), scoring a career-high 27 points while posting three rebounds, three assists and two steals. Unfortunately, it was not enough, as Northeastern ran away with six unanswered points late in the second half for the win.
There’s no doubt that Terriers will be relying on Callahan’s consistent production to beat Harvard (1-1), though BU coach Kelly Greenberg is also adamant about the young team’s continued development down the road.
“The most important thing about [Friday night] was getting the experience,” Greenberg said. “Some people played together for the first time, and of course the rookie players who were playing were a bit nervous. We are much more comfortable out there now. We’re not going to have so many questions.”
BU also played solid defensively despite the continuous adjustment of a new rotation of guards. As Greenberg admits, the focus for the week will be towards improving an offense that went 19-of-62 overall and churned out a paltry 30.6 shooting percentage in the second half.
“I thought our rebounding was fantastic last Friday,” Greenberg said. “Honestly, there were a lot of timely moments on Friday. We had a couple of our shots go in and out. When can we get a better shot, we really switched some things up. I think we did well in making the change to playing zone and playing man and how we are defending overall. I was pleased with our team making adjustments as the game went on, and I’m confident that we won’t be as bad as we were [in terms of shooting percentage.]”
Meanwhile, the Crimson will return to Lavietes Pavilion to continue their 15-game winning streak at home after trekking to Chicago to beat California Polytechnic State University, 83-76, in the DePaul Maggie Dixon Classic. After last year’s overtime thriller that BU won by a score of 68-61, the all-time series between the Terriers and Crimson are tied at 14 overall.
With three starters and 11 letter-winners returning this season, the Crimson will continue to play toward the physical abilities of their roster. Like last season, Harvard will lean on senior guard Christine Clark and junior forward Erin McDonnell to lead the offensive charge. Clark finished with 22 points in the win against Cal Poly (0-2), while McDonnell is averaging 13.0 points per game.
Defensively, Harvard also imposes an impressive frontcourt led by London native Temi Fagbenle. The junior forward has already recorded three steals on the year and led the team in blocks per game (1.3) last year.
“They have tremendous size up front,” Greenberg said. “That in itself will cause some problems. We’ll focus on keeping them from doing so well. They are very different from Northeastern. They play an up-tempo game. As you can tell, they have and will score a lot of points. We really want to be aggressive and push the ball, and because of that, I would expect it to be a bit of a shootout. But I like our defense and our half-court defense and hopefully we’ll get in their way. We’ll see how the game goes on for us, and we’ll respond to what they’re doing.”