Coming into the Patriot League tournament, the Boston University women’s basketball team was searching for answers.
The third-seeded Terriers (17-13, 12-6 Patriot League) fell into a rut at the end of the regular season, losing three of their last four games after a scorching-hot start to conference play.
But in BU’s quarterfinal tilt with the sixth-seeded United States Military Academy (16-13, 10-8) Monday night, the Terriers bounced back.
BU withstood a 37-point performance from Army senior guard Alisa Fallon to capture an 80-74 victory at Case Gym.
“This was a really hard-fought win,” BU head coach Melissa Graves said postgame. “We really shifted our mindset through practice where we had two assists last game, which is not where we want to be as a team. We talked about sharing the basketball…and I thought today we responded really well.”
The Terriers finished the game with 18 assists to Army’s nine after struggling to find open looks in the team’s 59-48 loss to the College of the Holy Cross on March 2.
Sophomore forward Caitlin Weimar led BU with 21 points and 13 rebounds. The Marist University transfer was unguardable in the post, hitting all seven of her field goal attempts.
Weimar and junior forward Maren Durant used their presence in the paint to create open perimeter shots as well.
Army often double-teamed Weimar and Durant when either received the ball in the post, so the two post players sprayed the ball out to the perimeter.
As a result, BU’s best three-point shooters cashed in on the uncontested opportunities from beyond the arc.
“We had a game plan knowing they would collapse a lot in the post,” Weimar said. “I just mainly focused on taking my time in the post and looking to see if the double was coming.”
Weimar finished the game with four assists.
Junior guard Liz Shean, junior guard Maggie Pina and senior forward Riley Childs combined to knock down 10 three-pointers, shooting 50% from long-range.
“It just was like taking one play at a time, and, if I was open, to shoot it with confidence and watch it go in,” Shean said.
As a team, the Terriers shot nearly 40% from three-point range and just under 50% from the field.
BU started the game red-hot from downtown — the Terriers shot six-for-eight from deep in the first quarter, and bolted out to a 14-point lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Black Knights, though, returned the favor in the second frame. After BU junior guard Sydney Johnson was whistled for an intentional foul with 7:21 remaining in the quarter, Army took an extended 26-10 run into the break.
At the half, BU’s once-comfortable advantage had dwindled down to just one point.
The Terriers retained their lead for the entirety of the third quarter, although poor shooting from both squads kept the Black Knights within striking range — Army trailed by just six points heading into the final period.
BU held a slight advantage into the final minutes of the fourth quarter and survived a flurry of points from Fallon, including a desperation three-pointer which banked in and extended the game.
The Terriers, however, knocked down enough late free throws to survive and advance to the semifinals.
Fallon’s 37 points marked the most any Patriot League player has scored this season and broke the Patriot League tournament scoring record.
BU will face off against second-seeded American University in Washington, D.C. on March 10 at 6 p.m.
The Terriers split the season series with the Eagles, winning 69-46 at home on Jan. 8 and losing 70-57 on Feb. 12 on the road.