Basketball, NCAA, Sports

Women’s basketball pulls away from Bucknell, secures 69-51 win

The Boston University women’s basketball team (16-12, 12-5 Patriot League) defeated Bucknell University (20-8, 11-6 PL) 69-51 on senior day with a dominant performance on the boards and the defensive end at Case Gym.

The Terriers held Bucknell to 30.6% shooting from the field and snagged 43 rebounds in their last home game of the regular season.

Senior Riley Childs during the tip-off in a game against Bucknell University Feb. 26. The Boston University women’s basketball team won 69-51 on senior day — coached by assistant coach Brianna Finch while head coach Melissa Graves had her child Saturday. HUI-EN LIN/DFP STAFF

Assistant coach Brianna Finch said the team focused on forcing players to their weak hands and into tough shots.

“We tried to really get the ball going side to side,” Finch said. “They were trying to keep it on one side with some of their ball screen coverage, some of their switches, so we really wanted to shift the defense and then take advantage of that going to the basket.”

Finch filled in for head coach Melissa Graves, who gave birth to her first child Saturday. 

Offensively, the Terriers were able to exploit their size advantage and get mismatches in the post, while also finding holes in the pick and roll.

Junior guard Sydney Johnson, who scored 21 points on 9-of-16 shooting, said the team had prepared for Bucknell’s ice pick and roll coverage, and were able to counter it.

“When our post players play like they did today, it’s amazing,” she said. “It’s so fun to play with them and so fun to watch.”

Sophomore forward Caitlin Weimar and junior forward Maren Durant provided scoring and rebounding off the bench — Weimar notched 13 points and nine boards and Durant captured four points and six rebounds.

The Terriers’ bench also contributed — scoring 21 points to Bucknell’s 13 bench points.

After the first quarter, BU pulled away from the Bison, getting good looks from the paint and attacking off of ball screens.

“We had a lot of dribble penetration where we kind of forced the defense to collapse and then we were able to get into our post players who did a great job finishing,” Finch said.

Freshman guard Alex Giannaros was able to make plays in the paint, ending the game with team-high four dimes. 

Giannaros also added seven points, and hop-stepped past defenders on two occasions to get clean finishes.

Alongside Giannaros, Johnson generated lots of points in the midrange and said she was able to capitalize on BU’s strong post threats.

To cap off the third quarter, Johnson pulled off a crossover move into a high-arcing three-pointer that rattled in at the buzzer.

Overall, BU continued its strong 3-point performance, shooting 40% and continuing to lead the Patriot League in three-point percentage. The Terriers’ shooting helped spread out the defense and open up things inside, according to Finch.

Senior forward Chiara Tibbitt and senior forward Riley Childs got the starting nod, and chipped in on both ends of the floor. Their efforts totaled 12 points and nine boards across 38:55 minutes of play.

Bucknell saw solid performances from senior guard Taylor O’Brien, who had 14 points and five steals, and senior guard Marly Walls, who put up 12 points. 

The Bison were also able to force 11 steals on the Terriers, who turned it over 16 times.

Bucknell, however, was unable to get it going from behind the arc, shooting only 21.4% on 14 attempts.

Going into the game, both teams had a Patriot League record of 11-5, with BU having won their previous matchup against Bucknell.

The Terriers will look to continue their success on the road against the College of the Holy Cross in the final game of the season on March 2.

“We’re pursuing a league title and then just playing for each other and playing for our seniors today to celebrate all of their accomplishments,” Finch said. “We’re just really, really proud of our team and how we stayed the course and locked in defensively and shared the ball.”

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