The Boston University women’s basketball team competed in its first-ever Patriot League postseason contest Tuesday night at Case Gymnasium, defeating Loyola University-Maryland, 40-35.
The Terriers (13-19, 7-11 Patriot League), seeded seventh in the conference, played host to the No. 10-seed Greyhounds (5-25, 2-16 Patriot League) for a chance to take on the U.S. Military Academy in the quarterfinal round of the tournament.
After a low-scoring game with offensive stalemates abound, BU ultimately hit shots when it needed to and emerged victorious.
“[It was] just two teams not being able to knock down a basket,” said BU coach Kelly Greenberg. “I wish I could sit here and say we both were playing incredible defense. I thought we both were playing hard on defense and really contesting, but both teams missed open shots as well.”
Freshman guard Sarah Hope, who earned Patriot League All-Rookie Team honors earlier this week, got the Terriers on the board first with a 3-pointer just 45 seconds into the game. With 16:36 to go in the first, the Greyhounds and Terriers were tied at five apiece.
The teams exchanged chances for the next eight minutes, with BU holding the advantage and going up on Loyola 20-13 with 7:50 to go in the opening half.
Loyola was able to climb back into the game though, piecing together a 10-2 run to take a 23-22 lead with 1:48 remaining in the first. Hope hit another trey to retake the lead, but the Greyhounds put up five unanswered points to close out the half with a 28-25 advantage.
The Terriers regained the lead quickly after the whistle blew to start the second, going on a 4-0 run to pull ahead 29-28.
Neither team would score for the next four minutes despite putting up plenty of shots at both ends of the court. Agboola broke the drought with a jumper to extend the BU lead to three, but a layup from forward Jeneh Perry brought the Greyhounds back within one.
Both teams struggled to score for the next three minutes until Agboola hit a jump shot to put BU up by three again with 9:59 to play. Freshman Lisa Mirarchi took advantage of a missed shot by the Terriers to drive the ball all the way down the court and put in a layup, but Agboola answered with a layup of her own to pad BU’s lead.
Agboola would finish the night with a double-double that included 12 points and 16 rebounds, just one short of her career high. She also had five blocks and was able to knock down five of her 11 attempted shots from the field.
“I just really focused on crashing the boards,” Agboola said. “One of the things we emphasized last game was how we needed to rebound better … so I really wanted to focus on that for this game … my mindset was just to rebound as much as I can and do whatever I can to help my team.”
With just one point separating the conference foes after sophomore Diana Logan hit a jumper, junior forward Mollie McKendrick knocked down her own shot to put the Terriers up 37-34.
A free throw from Loyola and another McKendrick jumper brought the score to 39-35 with 34 seconds to go. After an attempt at the line from Agboola, BU sealed the deal with 10 ticks left on the clock.
“We really want to value every game,” Agboola said. “We were talking and everyone that was returning last year, we didn’t get to play in the tournament so this means so much to us. We want to do it for not only this team but last year’s team.”
It was not the prettiest of wins, as BU posted just 15 points in the second half to Loyola’s seven and shot 27.6 percent from the field overall. However, Greenberg stressed the value of her team being a team and working hard every day.
“It means a lot [to win],” Greenberg said. “Our year wasn’t what we wanted, it’s not what we expected, but it is what it is, and as I told my team and everyone at the banquet the other night, all of my teams, I’m always proud of.
“I never think that [the team] can be defined by wins and losses and by our record. And this team more than ever, this team more than any team. The character of our team, the togetherness, just people I really enjoy being around and people who give everything they have.”