Basketball, Sports

Women’s basketball looks for first win in home opener vs. Harvard

Senior Meghan Green has averaged four points per game thus far. PHOTO BY MADDIE MALHOTRA/ DFP FILE PHOTO
Senior Meghan Green has averaged four points per game thus far. PHOTO BY MADDIE MALHOTRA/ DFP FILE PHOTO

So far, the Boston University women’s basketball team has received a pair of opportunities to face off against foes from directly down the street. The results have been subpar, as the Terriers (0-3) began their season with a 78-59 defeat at Northeastern University before falling 67-49 to Boston College last Monday night.

However, with their home crowd backing them at Case Gym, BU will look to steal their first win of the season on Tuesday night as they play host to Harvard University.

“I know the girls are excited to be returning home again,” said BU head coach Katy Steding. “The parents are super supportive, of course, bringing some noise on the road. But when we come home, we have the band and the students that are sticking around over Thanksgiving, so we get a nice little boost. Hopefully this will give us a jolt at the beginning of the game.”

The opportunity to return to The Roof for their first bout of the season on familiar territory should provide relief for a Terriers squad, which was picked apart in the first half of their 69-54 loss to the State University of New York at Albany on Saturday night.

The Great Danes (2-2) jumped out to an astounding 45-17 lead against the Terriers. In the first half, Albany shot 51.5 percent from the field to their counterpart’s 22.2 percent clip.

Senior guard Sarah Hope had some highlights BU on the night, however, and will look to carry her hot shooting stroke into the battle against the Crimson (2-1).

After knocking down seven 3-point field goals in her first two games, Hope upped the ante against Albany. She pounced all over the Great Danes’ defense to the tune of 20 points on 6-of-11 shooting from downtown, the second-highest scoring day of her career.

The Terriers will need Hope to continue her momentum into the contest against Harvard, where she will be pitted against a stellar opponent in Crimson guard Katie Benzan.

The freshman broke out in Harvard’s 57-52 victory over Samford University on Friday night. Similar to how Hope compiles her points, each of Benzan’s four field goals came from behind the arc, as she shot 80 percent from 3-point range, while racking up a career-high 16 points.

BU will have their hands full in containing Benzan along with senior captain Destiny Nunley. In the first three games of the 2016-17 campaign, the forward has posted 13.7 points per game and five rebounds per outing while shooting a stellar 48.6 percent from the field and 80 percent from three.

The Terriers must keep tabs on Nunley on the perimeter while putting an emphasis on preventing her from receiving the ball in lucrative positions to score.

“In our nonconference schedule, we want to play against different opponents,” Steding said. “If we played against teams that would not challenge us, then we would not be doing ourselves a service. Harvard has a bunch of great shooters and real athletes. They are also very disciplined.”

The key for the Terriers will be to run their offense through 6-foot-5 junior center Sophie Beaudry and 6-foot senior forward Meghan Green. Harvard’s tallest option down low is 6-foot-3 freshman Jeannie Boehm, handing BU a substantial size advantage in the post.

If the Terriers can get the ball down low to Beaudry, who posted eight points and 13 rebounds against the Eagles on Nov. 14, the Crimson will most likely need to bring defensive assistance from the perimeter. This will open up the window for open outside shots for the Terriers, as Beaudry will be able to see over the defense and kick it out to uncontested shooters around the arc.

Steding expects BU to be competitive once league play begins, and is looking for her squad to improve upon its first three outings when it takes the court Tuesday night.

“Our team is going to be fun to watch against Patriot League opponents,” Steding said. “They don’t give up. They don’t go away. They always finding a way to fix things and keep battling. We just need to focus on our goals from the beginning.”

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