Looking to get back on track for its final two games of the regular season, the Boston University women’s basketball team has a tough contest ahead of itself, as it will host the U.S. Military Academy at Case Gymnasium Wednesday night.
The Terriers (11-18, 6-10 Patriot League) faced the Black Knights (19-7, 11-4 Patriot League) once before this season and had trouble keeping up with Army’s pace, losing by a score of 72-45.
BU kept Army relatively close in the early parts of the game, going into halftime down by seven, only allowing the Black Knights to shoot 37 percent from the field. In the second half, however, the Terriers’ conference foe ran away with the score, shooting 57.1 percent from the floor and scoring 39 second-half points to BU’s 19.
Army has a firm hold on third place in the Patriot League standings, but has played one fewer conference game than second-place American University. Army could catch up to American (19-8, 12-4 Patriot League) with a win against the Terriers and an Eagle loss.
On offense, the Black Knights shoot about 41 percent from the field and knock down about 73.4 percent of their free throws. These are daunting numbers considering the fact that Army tends to hold its opponents to a 37.5 percent success rate in field goals and holds a plus-8.2 scoring margin, a number good for third in the conference.
This offensive power comes primarily from sophomore Kelsey Minato, who scores about 21.7 points per game, enough to make her the leading scorer in the conference. She also leads the Patriot League in free-throw percentage with an impressive mark of 91.9 percent.
“Minato is just legitimate,” said BU coach Kelly Greenberg. “We’re just going to always know where she is … and hopefully make other people beat us. She can just score in so many ways. She’s very crafty with the ball, she’s got a wonderful handle and she can go left, right, shoot the three. She’s an exciting player so we’re just going try and contain her.”
Minato showed how lethal she can be the last time these two teams met, registering 32 points on the night, shooting 54.5 percent from the field. She also sunk 6-of-8 3-point attempts and both of her opportunities from the charity stripe.
“This time around we’re sure more aware of Kelsey Minato,” Greenberg said. “She’s a big-time scorer and we’re definitely going to hopefully contain her a little bit more. We know we’re not going to shut her down, but we’re ready for her and our players are excited for the opportunity to play her again.
Minato has proved a force to be reckoned with all season long and has been Army’s highest scorer in 18 of its 26 games so far. In those eight games where she did not top the score sheet, fellow guard Jen Hazlett took care of business.
Hazlett scores 13.8 points per game, which is good for second on the team, but leads her squad in rebounds per game with 7.1. Against the Terriers, Hazlett put up 22 points of her own and pulled down eight rebounds, leaving her just two boards shy of a double-double. She made nine of her 13 field goal attempts and knocked down 4-of-5 tries from beyond the arc.
Forward Olivia Schretzman has been a compliment to the scoring of those two, as she has grabbed 6.1 rebounds per game to go along with her 6.1 points a contest.
The Black Knights have compiled a strong season, and have the advantage over BU in most statistical categories. Greenberg said she knows her team has a challenge ahead of itself in keeping Army’s offense at bay, but said it has been a while since the squads last met and much has changed in that time.
“It feels like forever since we’ve played them,” Greenberg said. “Probably the biggest thing that’s changed is that we’re comfortable together. We kind of know what to expect from our opponent because we’re playing them the second time around. So there’s just a much higher level of comfort there.”