The Boston University women’s basketball team picked up its first win of the season Saturday afternoon by edging the University of Rhode Island 52-49 at Case Gymnasium.
The Terriers (1-2) started the game on the same note as their last contest against Harvard University last Wednesday, letting the Rams (0-3) get ahead early. BU could not find the basket for the first four minutes of the half. After freshman guard Courtney Latham got BU started with a 3-pointer, the Terriers still had trouble scoring for the next four minutes.
Rhode Island clung to its increasingly narrow lead until about halfway through the first when BU tied the score at 11 apiece on a free throw from junior forward Mollie McKendrick.
The teams then traded scores until the Terriers started to pull away with 2:30 remaining in the first, going on a minute-long 7-0 run to put them ahead 26-19 before the buzzer sounded to send both teams to the locker room.
BU took its newfound intensity into the second half, continuing its run and putting 15 points between it and URI with 16:18 left in the game.
“I thought our energy, I thought our toughness, things we talked about at the half with our defense and making sure we get some stops … the and-one [senior forward Rashidat Agboola] had — everyone got a lot of life out of that, so we need more plays like that,” said BU coach Kelly Greenberg.
The Terriers then allowed the Rams to battle back and cut the lead to single digits with 12:44 to go.
The rest of the game was a nail biter as Rhode Island threatened BU all the way to the end. Rhode Island made it a one-point game with 1:07left and had a solid chance of putting the game away, were it not for BU sophomore guard Katie Poppe netting the Terriers’ final four points on a three-pointer and a free throw.
The Terriers held on for those closing seconds and secured their first victory.
“I’m very much relieved that we won the game,” Greenberg said. “I wasn’t really thrilled about our game from the get-go … Defensively, in the first half, we gave up so many offensive rebounds to a team that I felt like we should have been really manhandling on the board, so halftime was very intense.
“We just talked a lot about our defense, which I thought we did a great job, we came out and went on a nice run and then when we were up 15 we just stopped scoring. We stopped scoring, they got a couple baskets out of transition … they got easy looks.”
McKendrick echoed her coach’s sentiments, noting the problematic way in which BU won and emphasizing how much the team could learn from a game like this.
“It’s really good to get the win,” McKendrick said. “Of course we didn’t really want it to be in that type of fashion. We were pretty comfortable there and then we struggled a bit … It’s just good to get a win, though, and we can really progress from there.
“The main thing is we’re learning from every game, and we’ll go back and look at today’s game and really learn from it. Even the seniors, I’m still learning from it, seniors still learn, we’re all really learning about each other. It’s good.”
McKendrick led the team in points on the day with 12, her second consecutive game notching double-digits in scoring.
Agboola and senior forward Whitney Turner were both one mark away from double-doubles. Agboola had 11 points and nine rebounds on the day while Turner had nine points and 10 rebounds.
The Terriers as a whole were 19-of-54 from the field, which put them at a 35.2 percent success rate while finishing 11-of-24 at the line. BU also took advantage of Rhode Island’s 13 turnovers, scoring 15 points on the change in possession.
Greenberg said the team is making strides in the early part of the season.
“We just are putting ourselves in positions where there’s so much to learn from each game that we have to make sure that we don’t just talk about it, that we put it into place in our next games,” Greenberg said. “As my coaching staff and me, we have to make sure that we’re learning and getting better from these moments.”