After dropping back-to-back games in the conference to the likes of U.S. Military Academy and Lehigh University, the Boston University women’s basketball team took on another Patriot League opponent in the U. S. Naval Academy Wednesday night at Case Gymnasium.
While the offense began to click in the second half, the Terriers (8-16, 3-8 Patriot League) ended up falling to the Midshipmen (18-4, 10-1 Patriot League) by a score of 68-57, in part because of an issue that has hampered the team much of this season.
Despite some poor first-half shooting, it was the rebounding department that truly hurt the Terriers against the first-place MidshipmenWednesday night.
BU was out-rebounded by the Midshipmen 47-37 in the contest, something that has been a recurring theme for the team this season.
In the Patriot League, the Terriers rank last in defensive rebounds per game (42.7), and ninth in both offensive rebounds per game (36.7) and rebounding margin (minus 6.1).
BU coach Kelly Greenberg said she believes the lack of rebounding can be attributed to the Terriers’ zone defense and some unfortunate bounces.
“I don’t think it [the rebounding problem] is effort or energy at all,” Greenberg said. “That’s one thing I know that our team is going to bring. I thought they had a couple of lucky ones, and you know we played a lot of zone, so sometimes you give up some offensive rebounds in the zone.
“But you know you’re going to take long threes, there’s going to be some long rebounds. But 17 offensive rebounds is definitely more than what we normally give up.”
Junior forward Mollie McKendrick has been a beacon of hope for the team as it struggles with rebounding. The Australian recorded her second double-double of the year Wednesday night, scoring 16 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. McKendrick has put up exceptional numbers ever since she was inserted into the starting lineup earlier this season.
The team has played better when she is on the floor, as her confidence and inside skill helps the rest of the team.
While she has been strong on the glass, especially against Navy, McKendrick said she believes the team rebounding problem arises because BU focuses too much on boxing out and not enough on just going after the ball.
“Our effort is always there, I never doubt our effort,” said McKendrick. “Sometimes we’re a second too late to the ball, and sometimes we’re too worried about boxing out than actually just going and getting it. I always believe that we have the effort that’s there, just sometimes we have to go and get the ball instead of, you know, we need to be more selfish and get the ball, instead of waiting for one of our teammates to get it.”
Whether it is due to the Terriers’ fundamentals, a lack of focus or just fortuitous bounces for the opposing team, rebounding has been an issue this season, and as the team heads down the final stretch of games, BU must look to fix the issue to win.
Greenberg said the Terriers strengthen their game if they’re going to make any sort of run, and that starts by making the most of their opportunities and winning the rebound battle.
“We just can’t miss so many three’s,” said Greenberg. “We really missed a lot, especially early in the game. So it’s going to happen, I mean we know that, and we’ve hit some droughts this year, unfortunately we’ve never really started off the game in a drought, but that was when our drought was, but again I’m real happy with the way we responded.”