Critical halftime adjustments were the decisive factor for the Boston University women’s basketball team in their first win of the season Wednesday night, defeating the University of Massachusetts Lowell by a score of 63-43.
While the Terriers (1-2) only led by two points going into halftime, the team came out firing in the second half, outscoring UMass Lowell (0-3) 22-8 in the third quarter.
Additionally, after going 0-5 from behind the arc in the first half, the Terriers went 5-9 in the second half.
On the defensive side of the ball, changes made during halftime helped the team pull away in the second half.
“We adjusted our ball screen coverage a little bit. We put a little more pressure on the guards, especially ball pressure. We talked a lot about helping each other on defense as far as being in the gap and helping limit penetration,” head coach Melissa Graves said.
After turning the ball over 14 times in the first half, another adjustment was to control the game’s tempo.
“We wanted to take a breath, calm down and control the tempo a little more than feeling rushed,” Graves said. “We still had too many turnovers. But that’s something we’re just going to have to continually work on in practice and try to get better as we go through the season.”
Junior forward Caitlin Weimar was the star for BU, consistently scoring from inside the paint and taking advantage of her size. Weimar notched a double-double, contributing 18 points and pulling in 13 rebounds. She also had two assists, two blocks, and a steal.
“She had to play basically the whole game, and she stepped up there to get the ball inside and take advantage of our size,” Graves said. “When they have smaller people lining up against a player like Caitlin, they’ll try to send two or three people and do everything they can to stop her. I thought she was a big difference maker for us.”
For the River Hawks, senior guard/forward Kaylen Banwareesingh led the way with 14 points and nine rebounds, including two threes to get the team going early in the first quarter.
“She played really well,” Graves said. “It was something that we talked about in huddles, that we had to limit her and contest her and not let her get that shot off.”
River Hawk sophomore guard Ivory Finley also tallied 10 points, six rebounds and three assists in the losing effort.
In the end, the depth and well-roundedness of the Terriers were too much to handle. The team had 30 points from players off the bench, including 10 points from senior guard Sydney Johnson.
“I think it’s huge that we’re able to rotate at least nine people… to be able to play that many people also helps us press most of the game,” Graves said. “We’ve been looking to get better at that, getting more full-court pressure, using more bodies, and being sharp and ready to go.”
After two losses to open up the 2022-2023 campaign, it was a relief for the team to finally get in the win column.
“I’m really proud of them for getting this one. Hopefully, we can use this as a little bit of momentum going into the rest of the non-conference games,” Graves said.
The Terriers look to build on their well-rounded success on Saturday at home against the University of Hartford.