The Boston University women’s basketball team was looking to end the regular season on a high note when they took on the College of the Holy Cross Saturday afternoon at Case Gym. BU did just that, capturing a hard-fought 67-65 win on Senior Day.
“It’s wonderful, an emotional day and the culmination of four terrific years with four terrific women,” said BU coach Kelly Greenberg. “It was really nice to see some people in the stands who haven’t been in a while and that just shows the type of people that they [the seniors] are. People who had graduated years ago came back.”
All four seniors put up double-digit points during the win with forward Rashidat Agboola leading the way with 19 points. Forward Whitney Turner and guards Danielle Callahan and Melissa Gallo had 12 points each.
At the start of the game, Holy Cross guard Brisje Malone opened the scoring with a 3-pointer, but that was followed by a layup make from Turner.
The Terriers and the Crusaders exchanged baskets for much of the rest of the half, and neither team could grab hold of a sizable lead for most of the frame. A 3-pointer by guard Alex Smith at the 5:52 mark tied the game at 25-25, changing the complexion of the rest of the half. After the trey, the Crusaders would continue on a 15-6 run to end the half with a nine-point lead.
In the first frame, the Crusaders shot an impressive 50 percent from behind the arc and 41 percent overall from the field.
At the break, Gallo had 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting to lead the Terrier offense.
As a whole, the BU shot 42.9 percent from the field and 33 percent from behind the 3-point arc in the opening half.
The Terriers came out of the break firing on all cylinders, going on a 12-0 run. The stretch was capped by a layup from sophomore guard Clodagh Scannell with 14:54 remaining to put BU up 43-40.
“From first half to second half it was all about our defense,” Greenberg said. “To start the second half we got some easy baskets, they were some emotional baskets and from that point on our defense was just unbelievable.
“I remember in the first five minutes someone tried to drive baseline and [Turner] came and helped, they had to pass it back out and we were there,” Greenberg said. “We were just covering everybody’s back really well and our defense won the game.”
BU held a 49-45 lead with 9:48 left in the game when the Crusaders went on a 9-0 run of their own go up by five points. Callahan answered with a trey ball and the Crusader lead slimmed to just 54-52.
From that point on, it was the Terrier seniors who controlled the game. Callahan, in particular, had seven points during the final stretch where the Terriers scored their final 15 points.
Guard Alex Smith had a chance to give Holy Cross the win at the buzzer, but her contested 3-pointer did not fall and the Terriers walked away with the win.
To go along with BU’s 56.5 percent shooting from the floor, the Terriers’ ability to rebound was also a game-changer in the second half. At the end of the first, the Crusaders out-rebounded the Terriers by a 28-12 margin. That number shrunk in the second half though, as each team grabbed 21 boards in the frame.
Greenberg said the success on the glass was due to the four seniors’ strong play and tenacity throughout the game.
“It was the four players right here. They were just like, ‘no way are you going to keep rebounding.’ Even our second effort, if we didn’t get it the first time we were grabbing it, and that was the difference in the game.”