Coming off a road victory against Loyola University-Maryland, the Boston University women’s basketball team looks to extend its good fortunes in the first of a two-game home stint, when the Terriers take on American University at Case Gymnasium Wednesday evening.
The Terriers (7-12, 2-4 Patriot League) return to action against a very solid American (12-5, 5-1 Patriot League), a team whose conference record is second only to the U.S. Naval Academy’s untarnished 6-0.
American has won its past four games, all conference contests, and has done so by 18, 17, nine and 15 points, respectively. Thus far, the Eagles have outscored opponents by an average of 10.9 points a game, whereas the Terriers have been outscored by 5.7 points per game.
The Eagles also have a 42.4 percent success rate from the field, good for second in the Patriot League. They have held opponents to a stingy 35.6 percent from the floor, which is just 0.9 percent shy of BU’s 36.5 percent.
American also has the best turnover margin in the Patriot League with a 2.3 ratio, turning the ball over just 12.7 times per game, as opposed to the Eagles’ opponents who have given the ball up 15 times a contest.
The only categories in the conference where BU is ahead of the Eagles are in blocked shots and 3-pointers made. The Terriers have blocked 64 shots and made 139 trey balls to American’s 35 and 108, respectively.
The two teams are almost dead even in offensive rebounds per game, though the Eagles having a slight edge with 11.5 while BU has 11.4.
Despite the challenges that await the Terriers in the conference matchup, BU coach Kelly Greenberg said she is optimistic about the way her team will play, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
“We’re hoping to … get a feel for them early on, get a feel for what’s working for us early on, and really just don’t hurry,” Greenberg said. “We have a lot of really good options on the offensive end, so let’s make sure everyone gets some touches.”
One of these options is sophomore guard Clodagh Scannell. The Ireland native has put up 15 and 17 points in BU’s past two games against Colgate University and Loyola (4-13, 1-5 Patriot League). She hit five 3-point attempts in the game against the Greyhounds, while going 6-for-7 on the floor against Colgate (5-12, 1-5 Patriot League).
“I’m really, really excited for her,” Greenberg said of Scannell. “She plays very hard and plays with a lot of energy. I’m just really happy things are working well for her right now. She made a lot of big shots for us early in the game on Saturday, which gave us a nice lead. Then when we stopped scoring, we had a nice cushion … all of her threes she knocked down early in the game. She’s doing a great job, and hopefully she comes right back with another one.”
The Eagles rely on senior Alexis Dobbs for much of their scoring. The American guard scores about 13.8 points per game, shooting 48.5 percent from the field and an impressive 87.5 percent from the line. Dobbs has been strong on the glass as well, grabbing 4.4 boards per contest, good for fourth on the team.
Forward Arron Zimmerman has contributed to the attack as well, scoring 10.1 points per game. She’s shot 47.1 percent from the field, good for second on the team behind Dobbs for shooters who have taken at least 100 shots on the season.
Although American’s record and stat sheet may seem daunting, most of its success has come at home in Washington, D.C., where it boasts a 7-2 record. On the road, the Eagles are 5-3, and 2-0 in conference play. The Terriers may not have the statistical advantage at home, but the playing field might be a little bit more even than if they were to travel down to the nation’s capital.
While the task ahead for the Terriers will be difficult, Greenberg stressed that her team should both focus on the game ahead, but also relax.
“We know what we should do, we know we’re a good team, and let’s just let that happen, focus on our strengths and be very much aware of our opponent,” Greenberg said. “Really focusing on staying in front of Dobbs and not letting their transition game get going because they really score a lot in transition … just balancing what we do well on and also knowing what they do well on and making sure they don’t get too much of it.
“We needed [the win on Saturday] We were pretty disappointed with our previous two losses, and we just really wanted the game to be much more settled. Let’s be relaxed. I think all of our players want to win so badly that we’re almost going too hard. It was a team effort.”