Basketball, Sports

Defensive pressure sparks win

The old adage reads, ‘Defense wins championships.’ Maybe it’s a little early to stick the Boston University women’s basketball team up on the throne, but last night at Case Gymnasium, it was at least enough to beat Siena College.

The Terriers made it clear from Siena’s first possession that the Saints would have to work for open shooting space. On Siena’s first trip down the floor, BU senior Kristi Dini deflected a pass and drove downcourt into Siena territory.

The steal led to the game’s first points, a layup by senior Amarachi Umez-Eronini that started a 7-0 Terrier run. The swipe was the first of three for Dini in the game’s first five minutes, and Umez-Eronini’s two would be the first of 16 points from turnovers for the Terriers in the first half.

‘Dini got those three steals off team defense,’ BU coach Kelly Greenberg said. ‘Obviously it usually starts with Amarachi, but Dini came up big. She got some early rebounds, and I thought that was the big difference in the first 10 minutes of the game.’

The Saints came to The Roof with a reputation as a sharp-shooting squad that loves to shoot the ball from beyond the arc. Junior transfer Allie Lindemann, who shot 43.1 percent from 3-point land as a sophomore two years ago at Kirkwood Community College, leads the Saints backcourt attack, shooting at a 36.8 percent (7-for-19) clip from beyond the arc heading into last night.

However, led by the defensive play of guards Dini, Umez-Eronini and senior Christine Kinneary, the BU defense smothered the Saints’ exterior attack early. BU’s full court press put pressure on Siena’s guards all over the floor, forcing 13 turnovers and generating six points off the fastbreak to Siena’s zero. The Saints’ sharp-shooting attack made just two 3-pointers in the first stanza, and when the buzzer rang to end the first half, the Terriers had a 41-24 lead.

‘Our gameplan coming in was really to pressure them,’ Kinneary said. ‘All of their players, we scouted them as 3-point shooters. The coaches really did a great job of preparing us and just sticking with the gameplan of really being up in the passing lanes, not making anything easy for them and being all over them in the defensive end.’

‘We were basically the aggressors,’ Umez-Eronini said. ‘We came out with a lot of energy, and got Siena on their toes because they didn’t know what to expect.’

Greenberg said the tremendous defensive effort was a product of BU’s excellent energy on both ends of the floor ‘- in part due to the excitement surrounding the first game of the season at Case.

‘Our energy on the defensive end, full court press, getting back into our danger defense, taking some risks ‘- I thought we did a great job,’ Greenberg said. ‘We love playing at home, you know, it was our first game at home. We have a long road trip ahead of us, so it was just like, ‘Let’s get this one under our belt and then worry about this road trip later.”

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