It’s hard to believe freshman point guard Katie Nelson is only three games into her collegiate career.
The Falmouth native turned in one of the best individual performances of the season — netting 25 points on an efficient 10-16 from the floor. It wasn’t just her scoring as Nelson added seven assists in a 85-79 overtime victory at the University of Delaware.
“Katie Nelson is a tremendously talented player, but in this case she found a lot of gaps to attack with ball screens,” said Boston University women’s basketball head coach Katy Steding. “Besides being athletic, she has terrific poise under pressure and kept the team steady in those tough stretches.”
Despite surrendering 28 second chance points to Delaware (2-2) on 25 offensive rebounds, the Terriers (2-1) outshot the Blue Hens substantially including a 20-25 mark from the free throw line.
Senior forward Corrine Williams paced the Terriers in the opening stanza with 10 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. Steding elected to run a three-quarters court trap, falling back into a 3-2 zone with Williams serving as the first defender to pick up the initial ball-handler.
Through their first three games, the Blue Hens tied their opponents with 50 first quarter points, but the Terriers doubled up the Hens 18-9 in the first.
“I think our press and defensive tenacity at the beginning definitely got them on their heels at first,” Steding said.
The Terriers silenced Delaware junior forward Nicole Enabosi in the first quarter, but the Blue Hen forward came alive before taking a hard fall early in the second quarter which forced her to the locker room. Enabosi contributed a bucket along with suffocating defense on the Terrier senior center Sophie Beaudry.
BU could not stop the rallying Blue Hens, who outscored the Terriers by 14 in the second quarter. Sophomore forward Samone DeFreese scored eight in the frame including a pair from beyond the arc. Defreese finished with 12 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists off the bench in the first half as Delaware stormed to a 36-31 halftime lead.
“Delaware really pounded the offensive boards all game but they found a lot of success in surrounding Enabosi with 3 point shooters,” Steding said. “And we didn’t help ourselves with 14 first half turnovers.”
Delaware initially stymied the Terrier comeback attempt as Enabosi returned in the third quarter and quickly added four points and four of her game-high 17 rebounds.
Back-to-back three pointers by Williams and junior guard Payton Hauck staged what became a 10-0 run, finalized when Nelson assisted sophomore Nia Irving, then added a steal and bucket of her own to put the Terriers up 48-46.
“Corrine does everything well for us in a stretch like that run,” Steding said. “She makes plays at both ends and has really gained a lot of confidence in her scoring ability, she is a really steady calm presence for us.”
The Terriers and the Blue Hens battled for the remainder of the quarter with Delaware taking a 54-53 advantage.
Nelson connected on a triple to start the fourth, as the Terriers battled with the Hens in a game which included 16 lead changes and eight ties. Nelson split a pair of free throws with 27 seconds left, but Beaudry denied a three-point attempt by DeFreese to force overtime.
Seven points from Nelson in the overtime period willed the Terriers to victory.
“Game management in that stretch is for us staying focused on the details that matter,” Steding said. “I know the heart and hustle is there, so it’s making sure that we don’t go off the rails or lose our focus. Possession by possession they got it done.”