The Boston University women’s basketball team will make its first championship appearance since 2011 following a Thursday evening 72-51 victory over American University in the Patriot League semifinals.
In the 2019-2020 campaign, the Terriers were set to face Lehigh University in the semifinals, but the game was abruptly canceled hours before tip-off due to COVID-19. This year, the squad got their redemption.
“It was totally worth the wait,” head coach Marisa Moseley said in a press conference Thursday. “So proud of this team and the resilience and just sheer determination to not just come out and make it to the semifinals, but that they understand there’s a bigger goal in mind.”
Sophomore guard Sydney Johnson opened scoring for BU early in the first quarter and went on to score a career high of 23 points. Johnson was 5-6 beyond the arc, proving to be a force to be reckoned with.
“[Johnson] has a confidence about her, we saw this when we were recruiting her in high school,” Moseley said. “Like anything else, when you’ve got confidence, good things happen.”
Neither team truly held the momentum in the opening ten minutes — it seemed that the two were still finding their footing. BU trailed for the majority of the quarter, but garnered a lead with less than a minute remaining.
The second quarter was an entirely different story for the Terriers. They came out with a spark of energy, ready to compete. Moseley said it’s as if her team takes the first quarter to warm themselves up, “like an old car,” but they were clearly able to execute the game plan thereafter.
BU went on a 17-0 run, denying any offensive production from their opponent for around five minutes. Eagles junior guard Jade Edwards –– a leading scorer in the Patriot League –– was held to only six points the entire game, unable to find her shot against the Terrier’s aggressive defense.
Redshirt junior guard Emily Esposito was a quiet killer throughout the competition –– she came off the bench ready to make a difference and finished the game with 16 points.
“Emily is just such a dynamic scorer, she can get her own shot which is a really huge skill and asset to have,” Moseley said. “She creates that space for that fade-away and it’s really hard to guard.”
The scarlet and white protected their lead for the entirety of the last two quarters. BU cycled the Eagles’ defense and was able to find shots all around the court. Whether it was dumping it into the paint for a layup or sinking jumpshots, the Terriers found their game.
The squad maintained a high-tempo pace and pushed the ball until the final buzzer, securing themselves a spot in Sunday’s Patriot League finals. Moseley said she and her team will lean into the challenge and are excited for the opportunity.
“I think that’s the biggest thing in the shift of culture here is understanding the expectation to win, but also that we want to be in this situation,” Moseley said. “We embrace that pressure.”
The Terriers will return to Case Gym for a 4:00 p.m. start Sunday as they take on Lehigh for the Patriot League championship title.