Women’s basketball goes .500 in 6 games

The Boston University women’s basketball team played six games over BU’s winter break, finishing with a 3-3 record and moving in a positive direction, despite some inconsistencies.

“We did some good things, we made strides in some areas,” said BU associate head coach Michael Leflar.  “We really connected with each other in some games and got positive results.”

The trip looked promising at first, as the Terriers’ record was 3-1 through four games. BU (6-11, 1-3 Patriot League) dropped the last two games, however, to the U.S. Naval Academy and Lafayette College, both Patriot League opponents.

“We thought the league would be good and challenging and it has been,” Leflar said.  “It’s just a matter of us beating those challenges.”

In the first game of the six-game stretch, the Terriers took on the University of New Hampshire on Dec. 22. Although BU shot only 36.5 percent from the field in the contest, the Terriers came out on top 69-58.

Senior guard Danielle Callahan led the way for BU, collecting 17 points, including going 3-for-5 from beyond the 3-point line. Senior forward Rashidat Agboola played a key role as well, chipping in 14 points and grabbing nine boards.

Agboola’s play was strong not just in that one game, but throughout the entire break, and she was one of the most consistent players for the Terriers in the six games.

“Rashidat has definitely been playing her best basketball of the season these last few games,” Leflar said. “She’s more assertive when she gets the ball and it’s great to see, just her being more confident with the ball. She’s done a nice job of being a number-one option for us on the low block.”

After beating UNH (7-7) by double digits, BU finished its non-conference schedule on Dec. 29, beating another America East Conference opponent in the University of Vermont for its second straight win.

Agboola excelled again, this time putting up 19 points to go along with six rebounds. Not only did the senior step up for BU, but freshman forward Meghan Green also came through in a pinch, filling in for injured junior guard Mollie McKendrick. In the game, Green put up 14 points in 16 minutes of play, numbers good enough to earn her the title of Patriot League Rookie of the Week on Dec. 30.

“Meghan stepped in nicely,” Leflar said. “She had been practicing really well prior to that, and [she is] just a strong post player who can score inside and out. She is definitely playing with some confidence.”

The Terriers performed well on the glass, and won the defensive rebound battle 27-22, part of the reason BU held the lead wire-to-wire and won 80-62.

After beating back-to-back America East teams, the Terriers ventured into the conference portion of their schedule. In its first-ever Patriot League game, BU faced off against the College of the Holy Cross on Jan. 2. Although Agboola put up double-digit points and Green had a double-double, the Terriers fell to the Crusaders (11-4, 3-1 Patriot League) by a score of 69-59.

The Holy Cross offense proved to be too much, especially forward Raquel Scott. The sophomore was a thorn in the side of the Terriers all night long, as she scored 24 points, shooting over 50 percent from the field.

With a little over three minutes to go in the game, the Terriers cut the deficit to 61-58, but a late run by the Crusaders pushed them ahead for good.

Coming back from the loss, BU hosted Lehigh University at Case Gymnasium on Jan. 5 for the Terriers’ first home Patriot League game.

BU came out looking like it was on a mission, starting the game with an impressive 9-0 run. The Terriers never trailed at any point during the game, in part because of consistent play on both ends of the court. Green boasted another great performance, scoring 15 points, while senior guard Melissa Gallo chipped in 13 points.

A solid Terrier defense held Lehigh (8-7, 1-3 Patriot League) to shoot just 33.8 percent from the field. Although the Mountain Hawks grabbed 19 offensive rebounds, the Terriers won their first game in the Patriot League by a 71-64 margin.

Going into the final two games of the stretch, the Terriers looked to boast a league record above .500. BU first went down to Annapolis, Md., to play Navy (12-3, 4-0) on Jan. 8.

In the first half of the contest, BU shot well at 46.4 percent from the field, but found itself down by seven points entering the break.

Although Agboola and Callahan finished in double figures for the game, Navy’s offense powered by 24 points from senior Kara Pollinger, coupled with BU’s sub-30 percent shooting led to a 10-point victory for the Midshipmen.

In the final contest of the break on Saturday, the Terriers faced off against Lafayette (7-8, 1-3 Patriot League). The first half started with promise, and BU took an eight-point lead into halftime against the Leopards.

However, during the final five minutes of the second frame, the Leopards grabbed ahold of the lead for the first time. Forward Emily Homan scored 20 points, helping Lafayette overtake the Terriers.

“In some games like the Lafayette game we just didn’t make enough plays down the stretch,” Leflar said. “They just made more plays than we did.”

Although they had both ups and downs during the break, Leflar said he is pleased about the team’s progress on a game-to-game basis.

“I thought was saw some nice progress in the New Hampshire game and the Vermont game right around Christmas,” Leflar said. “We lost some in the Holy Cross game, but we came back and played well against Lehigh.

“Our goal this entire season has been to get better every day in practice and put the lessons we taught in and get better game after game, and I think we saw some nice progress over the break.”

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