Basketball, Sports

Women’s Basketball hangs on in fourth quarter to take down Bucknell, 52-48

Senior forward Nia Irving, shown in a November 2018 game against Brown University, scored 11 points in her return from an injury in Boston University’s 52-48 victory over Patriot League frontrunner Bucknell University. MADDIE EPPERSON/ DFP FILE

The Boston University women’s basketball team took down Bucknell University by a final score of 52-48 in a nail-biter at Case Gym on Saturday.

Both the Terriers (10-10, 5-4 Patriot League) and the Bison (15-6, 8-2 Patriot League) got off to a slow start in the contest, with the first basket coming from BU senior forward Nia Irving 3:16 into the first quarter. From there, BU Head Coach Marisa Moseley’s squad would find its offensive rhythm, springing to a 10-2 lead just after the halfway point of the first quarter as freshman guard Maggie Pina drilled two 3-pointers in quick succession to help the Terriers extend their lead.

Bucknell had a rough first quarter shooting the ball, going 2-for-12 from the field, and 0-for-5 from three, as the Terriers jumped out to a 16-4 lead heading into the second quarter. Pina led the way for BU through the first 10 minutes with eight points and three rebounds.

Through the first few minutes of the second quarter, the Terriers kept up their offensive pace, while still managing to stifle the Bucknell attack. With just over two minutes gone in the quarter, junior guard Katie Nelson got out to a fast break before feeding sophomore forward Riley Childs, who buried the layup to extend the BU lead to 20-7. 

Late in the first half, the Bison began to find their game, slashing the Terriers’ lead to 24-18 thanks to a three-pointer from Bucknell senior forward Ellie Mack. The two sides would go to the locker rooms at halftime with BU leading, 27-21, as Childs and Mack each came away with nine points in the half for their respective teams.

The Bison followed up a dismal shooting performance in the first half by coming out and going 6-for-12 from the field, and 3-for-5 from deep. BU also had an up-and-down first half from the field, shooting 11-for-26 and 3-for-6 from range in the first half. However, Bucknell outscored the Terriers 17-11 in the second quarter. 

Moseley said the game was about resiliency, as it wouldn’t be possible to shut down the Bison for the entire game.

“We saw the way they were trying to overload our zone,” Moseley said. “I think we were able to weather [the storm] and make a little bit of a run ourselves,” 

Like the beginning of the contest, the second half got off to a sleepy start with the Terriers and Bison only making one basket apiece through the first three minutes, highlighted by a three from Childs as the shot clock ran out, giving BU a 30-23 lead. Bucknell began to snap out of its funk, going on a 5-0 run and cutting BU’s lead to just 30-28 with under five minutes remaining in the third quarter.

The Terriers answered as Pina nailed another three with just over a minute to go in the third. Heading into the fourth quarter, BU clung to a 39-34 lead after the Bison outscored them 11-10 in the third frame.

Both the Terriers and the Bison were inconsistent on offense to start the fourth quarter, but Childs was able to come up with a huge bucket with 5:40 remaining in regulation. Bucknell continued to be a thorn in BU’s side thanks to a jumper from Mack with 4:31 to go in the fourth.

Bucknell junior guard Ally Johnson hit a soaring 3-pointer to tie the game up with 3:29 remaining. Shortly after, Irving missed a free throw before hitting her second, but Johnson fed Mack, who drilled a long-range three to give Bucknell the lead, 48-46, for the first time all afternoon.

The Terriers did not waiver, though, as Mack’s bucket would be the last for the Bison in the game. Pina tied it at 48 apiece with 2:19 remaining before Childs hit the eventual game-winner with 1:28 left to put an exclamation point on her afternoon and give BU a 50-48 lead. 

Childs was no stranger to driving to the hoop throughout the game as she said she knew she and her team would have to be the more physical one to come away with the win.

“For me, I just knew I had to step up, play as tough as I could to help and help my team do whatever they could,” Childs said.

With 10 seconds left and Bucknell on the prowl, BU freshman forward Maren Durant came up with a huge rebound on Bison junior forward Tessa Brugler’s miss. Durant was later fouled on an inbounds pass with 8.1 seconds to go before hitting both free throws to give the Terriers insurance.

Childs finished the game with 18 points and 11 rebounds for BU, while Pina came away with 15 points and five boards. For Bucknell, Mack led the way with 19 points and five rebounds.

Childs said the win was encouraging for the group, especially with the Bison being the top team in the Patriot League.

“[The win] gives us a lot of confidence, especially not starting out with the record we would’ve liked to,” Childs said. “I think building off of this is going to give us great momentum.”

The Terriers will return to action on Feb. 8 as they travel to Holy Cross (13-8, 6-4 Patriot League) for another Patriot League matchup.

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