Boston University women’s basketball is on the rise and they get their first crack at the 2017-18 slate on Friday night in a double header with the men’s team against Northeastern University.
The Terriers were ranked No. 5 in the Patriot League preseason poll after finishing in the same spot last year. With a lot of positives to build on, head coach Katy Steding said she looks forward to the team’s first test.
“It’s a good measure of where we’re at,” Steding said. “Northeastern is a team that plays really, really hard, aggressive and they will expose us if we’re not battling and staying with them.”
Last year the Terriers surrendered a season opening 78-59 loss at Northeastern’s Cabot Center with the Huskies coming out on top. Then junior Corrine Williams contributed 13 points, four rebounds and three assists for the Terriers.
It was the Terriers first game with 6-foot-5-inch center Sophie Beaudry and a lot has changed since then with the graduation of starting guards Sarah Hope and Courtney Latham. Hope graduated as BU’s all time three-point leader and now serves as the director of operations for women’s basketball at the College of the Holy Cross.
Then sophomore Jess Genco had 27 points for Northeastern in last year’s game, including seven shots from beyond the arc.
“They have a couple guards that can really light it up, as evidenced last year,” Steding said.
Backcourt mate senior Claudia Ortiz averaged 13 points per game for Northeastern last season, good for the team lead in scoring.
Beaudry, Williams, senior Kara Sheftic and sophomore Nia Irving make up a tremendous front court arsenal for BU. Coupled with wings junior Naiyah Thompson and junior Payton Hauck, BU is set to take the next step towards a Patriot League title.
Thompson was inserted into the starting lineup near the end of the nonconference schedule and anchored the defense along with Beaudry. Beaudry was named to the Patriot League All-First and All-Defensive teams in her junior season after sitting out a year due to NCAA transfer regulations as Beaudry transferred from Monmouth University.
However, new to the team are freshman Katie Nelson hails from Falmouth, and joins sophomore Vanessa Edgehill as the only Massachusetts born players on the roster.
Five-foot-9-inch guard Tenisha Pressley and 6-foot-2-inch forward Mackenzie Miers also join the team as freshman.
Another storyline is a rematch of 2016 Maine Class A State Championship participants Irving of BU and Shannon Todd of Northeastern.
Todd’s York Wildcats downed Irving’s Lawrence Bulldogs 58-57 in a thriller. Irving had 14 points, 11 rebounds and four assists in the loss where Todd added six points, five rebounds and five assists.
Irving missed the beginning of last season with an injury and did not play against Northeastern, but ended up being named Irving the Patriot League All-Rookie Team for her efforts last season.
Steding said her team is different now and does not look at last year’s result as indicative of what could happen this time around.
“I don’t like to look in the rear view mirror,” Steding said. “This is a different team, we play differently even though we have some of the same personnel.”