The Boston University women’s basketball team lost their season opener against Northeastern University on Monday in Case Gym with a final score of 66-65.
Despite never trailing by more than seven at any point, the Terriers (0-1) played from behind nearly the entire game, only holding the lead for nine minutes.
“(There was) a lot to learn from, and obviously better to learn from it now in the beginning of the year than later on,” head coach Melissa Graves said. “We need to grow and work on what we talked about in the postgame with the team.”
Northeastern (1-0) started the game off on a 7-0 run, primarily off of their transition offense. The Huskies pushed the pace on the fast break and seemed to catch the Terriers off guard.
“The biggest thing we were talking about is how this game was going to be a defensive game,” Graves said. “The struggle we’ve had is a slow start in the beginning (…) we’ve really talked about challenging them to start off stronger in practice so that we can play that way.”
However, a brief timeout led to a 9-0 run for BU, and they continued to keep it close throughout the game. Neither team shot particularly well from the floor — instead, it was stellar play inside the paint that kept the Terriers in the game.
Junior forward Caitlin Weimar and senior forward Maren Durant were forces to be reckoned with in the paint on both sides of the floor in the first half, combining for 16 of BU’s 44 rebounds.
Sophomore guard Alex Giannaros, who was named to last year’s Patriot League All-Rookie team, shouldered much of the offensive burden this game with reigning Patriot League Preseason Player of the Year senior guard Sydney Johnson out due to illness.
“Taking no mercy, going for every single offensive rebound, I knew that would help my team push the pace and get those easy layups like Alex did,” Weimar said.
Giannaros shot 33.3% from both the floor and behind the arc but drew eight fouls and scored nine of her 23 points from the charity stripe.
“She played really well. With (Johnson) out, we needed to have her step up, and she’s still very young as a sophomore,” Graves said. “Her ability to score the basketball is so great, so it was really good to see her take that over and take Syd’s scoring responsibility.”
However, she did have eight turnovers, and BU had a back-breaking 19 total as a team. The Huskies scored 12 points off those turnovers, and Graves cited carelessness in handling the ball as a significant factor in their defeat.
“For (NEU), how they pressure, how they deny passing lanes, that’s something we normally struggle with,” Graves said. “It’s a tough team to play against when they’re constantly, for 40 minutes, pressuring and denying, so it’s something we need to get better at.”
Fittingly, the end of the game saw the Terriers lose because of that pressure. NEU junior guard Derin Erdogan hit two free throws to cap off a stellar fourth quarter where she scored Northeastern’s last seven points, but BU, trailing by one point, had a chance to win with thirty seconds left on the clock.
They looked to get the ball into Giannaros’s hands, but the Huskies denied her, and Weimar was forced to take a midrange jumper instead. She hit back iron, and senior guard Maggie Pina secured the rebound but turned it over after being double-teamed as time expired.
The Terriers will have a chance to rebound against the University of Miami on Sunday at 1 p.m. in Coral Gables, Florida.