Basketball, Basketball, NCAA, Sports

Women’s basketball sweeps Holy Cross in season-opening series

The Boston University women’s basketball team opened up its 2021 season with a series against the College of the Holy Cross. The Terriers recorded two wins against the Crusaders, beating them 76-54 Jan. 4 in Boston and 72-56 Jan. 5 in Worcester, Mass.

The Terriers made their return to Case Gym — after nearly 10 months — Monday afternoon with their first win over the Crusaders.

Boston University point guard Katie Nelson in a game against Navy on Feb. 15, 2020. Nelson was a leading scorer in the team’s opening series against the College of the Holy Cross on Monday and Tuesday. RACHEL SHARPLES/ DFP FILE

Junior forward Riley Childs opened up the scoring early in the first quarter for the Terriers, and sophomore forward Maren Durant followed with a layup. Despite the early field goals, the Terriers offense struggled in the first quarter.

Head coach Marisa Moseley, 2019’s Patriot League Coach of the Year, said their slow first quarter was to be expected. 

“The first quarter showed that we hadn’t played since March,” Moseley said in a Monday press conference. “But, really coming out of the half, I think we settled in a bit.”

The Crusaders and Terriers went back and forth scoring late into the first quarter. BU senior guard Katie Nelson sank two free throws with 27 seconds left on the clock, but the Crusaders were able to end the quarter leading 13-12.

The beginning of the second quarter was dominated by the Terriers with two free throws by redshirt junior guard Emily Esposito. This game was Esposito’s first competitive match since her transfer from Villanova University in 2019.

“I think it was to be expected that [Esposito] was going to be a ball of nerves coming out,” Moseley said. “But she really seemed to get her stride in the second half.” 

The Terriers gained an eight-point advantage before the end of the first half with free throws by junior guard Chiara Tibbitt and points by sophomore guard Sydney Johnson.

However, the Terriers struggled with turnovers and had only one assist before the second half.

The Terriers began to turn it around and extended their lead to 16 points with seven minutes left in the third quarter, which included sophomore Maggie Pina’s first points of the game.

The Crusaders lagged behind the Terriers, falling behind by more than 20 points in the middle of the third. Nelson continued to dominate for the Terriers, racking up 17 points.

The Terriers were able to push their lead to 22 by the end of the fourth quarter, beating Holy Cross 76-54.

The squads met again the following afternoon on Jan. 5 at the Hart Recreation Center in Worcester. The Crusaders looked to come back from their loss with an early bucket by junior forward Oluchi Ezemma, but the Terriers were quick to get possession of the ball and score. 

Esposito and Johnson later sunk jumpers, giving the Terriers a 15-10 lead at the end of the first quarter.

BU dominated through the second quarter, widening their gap to 10 points until Holy Cross answered with two points by junior guard Avery LaBarbera. Sophomore guard Annabelle Larnard recorded her first points of the season with a three-pointer in the second quarter. The Terriers lead increased to 18 points before the Crusaders called a timeout. 

The second half started with a spell of possession by the Terriers, but the first points on the board were scored by Holy Cross’ Ezemma and junior guard Kelly Petro. The Terriers were quick to answer with a layup by Lanard.

Before the Terriers could take a timeout near the end of the quarter, Pina sank a three pointer. Pina struggled to get on the board in Monday’s game but came back and recorded 11 points in Tuesday’s matchup.

Nelson sank a jump shot late in the third quarter and led the Terriers in points Tuesday. The Terriers had 23 points over the Crusaders by the end of the third quarter. 

Scoring slowed down in the fourth quarter for both teams. A series of free throws by the Crusaders dropped the Terrier’s lead to 19 before a timeout by BU. The lead dropped to 15 after the break when Holy Cross freshman guard Cara McCormack sank a three-point jump shot late in the fourth quarter.

The Terriers won the second matchup 72-56 over the Crusaders, but they will meet each other back on the court four more times this season. BU sits in first place in the Patriot League North division, and will return Saturday with a matchup against Colgate University tipping off at 1:00 p.m. 

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