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Women’s basketball prevails in close contest with Leopards

The Boston University women’s basketball team ended a three-game losing streak Saturday, defeating Lafayette College, 61-59.

The Terriers (9-16, 4-8 Patriot League) won their closest contest of the year largely due to strong frontcourt play from senior forward Rashidat Agboola and junior forward Mollie McKendrick who had 20 points and 19 points, respectively.

“It was a much-needed win,” said BU coach Kelly Greenberg. “We’ve been in so many great games with great comebacks and we haven’t been able to get that ‘W’ so it’s a really nice victory for our players.”

BU jumped out to an early 8-2 lead on a layup from Agboola. After the Leopards (12-11, 6-6 PL) cut the lead to one, the Terriers surged back with back-to-back 3-pointers from sophomore guard Clodagh Scannell and a layup from senior guard Danielle Callahan to put the Terriers up 19-10.

Both teams battled back-and-forth for the rest of the frame, and the game was tied at the half at 27 apiece.

To start the second half, BU fell behind on the first possession, but came right back with a layup from Agboola. Both teams struggled to gain a command of the lead, though, and the game remained close throughout the final half of play.

With a little less than 11 minutes left in the half, the Terriers went on a mini-run that saw BU score on four consecutive possessions, thanks to the play of Agboola and McKendrick.

“Mollie’s outside shot really opens things up for Rashidat on the inside and it helps our offense out a lot,” Greenberg said.

The BU lead was cut to 47-44 with about seven minutes left to play, but the strong offensive presence from McKendrick helped the Terriers build up a nine-point lead with 5:03 remaining in the half.

With BU looking like it had a comfortable lead in the final minutes of the half, the Leopards made a run to change the momentum of the game. After a free-throw make from forward Emily Homan, Lafayette had trimmed the BU lead to 59-57 with 3:12 left on the clock.

With BU holding on to a slim lead and 1:29 left in the second frame, senior forward Whitney Turner was called for a foul that sent Homan to the line again for two shots. The forward sunk both, and BU’s advantage stood at 61-59.

Scanell had the chance to seal the BU win with 18 seconds remaining in the game, as she headed to the line for two free throws. She missed both, however, and the Leopards had one last chance to tie or win the game in regulation.

Lafayette’s opportunity came with the clock ticking down, but a 3-point attempt from guard Linnel Macklin was off the mark, and the Terriers escaped Kirby Sports Center with a victory.

Part of the reason for the Terrier win was because of strong defensive pressure throughout the game. BU held the Leopards to 32.3 percent from the field as well as 25 percent from behind the arc, something Greenberg attributed to the zone defense the team played.

“We played a lot of zone last game, we played a lot of zone today and our players really believe in that,” Greenberg said. “They’re much bigger than us at every position and for us to outscore them in the paint is a huge deal for us and I think we did a tremendous job.”

With the win, the Terriers gain some momentum heading into the final stretch of the season.

Greenberg said the team battled the pressure well, despite the close call at the end.

“I think we handled it well,” Greenberg said. “We had one big turnover during that but other than that we did a lot of nice things and I felt our team was very connected with each other which is really key.”

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