The road-weary Boston University women’s basketball team will take on the University of Massachusetts-Amherst Wednesday night in what will be the team’s fifth consecutive game away from Case Gym.
The Terriers (2-6) have posted a disappointing 1-3 record during that stretch, including a rough 96-38 loss to No. 1 University of Connecticut.
“It’s not easy, but it’s not something we really talk about,” said BU coach Kelly Greenberg. “I always pride ourselves [in] that our teams are very tough and very resilient, and I think we’re proving that. We’re taking advantages of the practices we’ve had and the games we’re playing.”
Despite her team’s lackluster record, Greenberg said that the more games that BU has under its belt, the better they will perform this season.
“We’ve played more games then most teams at this time. I think we’re getting tougher, we’ve been playing really good defense,” Greenberg said. “[Junior forward] Mollie [McKendrick is] doing a lot of great things for us off the bench and [senior forward] Rashidat [Agboola] finally had a breakout game so I’m excited for [Wednesday] night.”
McKendrick has been coming on strong over the last two games for BU, as she led the team in both points and rebounds against Monmouth University on Nov. 24 with 14 and eight, respectively.
“Mollie has done really good for us all season,” Greenberg said. “I just think it’s showing up a little more in the numbers the last few games. She’s a good offensive threat for us and she’s a heck of a rebounder, and she’s proved that she deserves a lot of minutes.”
McKendrick’s last game, a 62-56 loss to Old Dominion University on Sunday, was also notable, as the Mildura, Australia, native recorded her first career double-double with 14 points and 16 rebounds.
UMass (2-6) comes into the game with issues of its own, as the Minutewomen have struggled with scoring all season long, eclipsing the 60-point threshold just three times this year.
The Minutewomen have only one player averaging double digits in scoring in junior Emily Mital, who averages 10.1 points per game. Forward Kim Pierre-Louis is close to the double-digit mark, however, as she is averaging 9.9 points per game.
The Terriers have also had offensive struggles of their own — BU ranks ninth in the Patriot league in scoring offense (57.4 points per game), scoring margin (-10.4), free-throw percentage (.644) and steals (5.0).
The Terriers are sixth in made 3-point field goals (51) and seventh in offensive rebounding (93).
This will be the first game for the Terriers since playing in the Basketball Hall of Fame Women’s Challenge, where they played three games in a three-day span that tested the team’s morale.
“It was a physically challenging tournament playing the three teams in one weekend, but it was a really good experience,” Greenberg said. “We played against a lot of very good teams, UConn obviously being the best, but we took a lot from it and are just trying to move forward and see what our strengths are.”
Going against the Huskies (9-0) was a tough test for a young Terrier team that was not experienced enough to match up well with the top-ranked team in the nation.
BU should have an easier job scoring against the Minutewomen, who are allowing an average 79.1 points per game.
“I’m just really anxious to get back on the court,” Greenberg said. “We did some really good things in the Old Dominion game, so we want to follow up and do that again but add some new things we practiced. I think our team is really ready and really prepared.”
Even though this is only the ninth game of the season, Greenberg said some BU players are already seeing this game as a critical test.
“I think our players are looking at this game as a must-win,” Greenberg said. “Our last several games we’ve done a lot of good things and we’re moving forward, but it doesn’t show in our win-loss record.”