The Boston University women’s basketball team defeated the College of the Holy Cross 66-59 on Wednesday, extending their win streak to 14. Down by as much as 15 points in the first half, the Terriers (19-6, 14-0 Patriot League) held the Crusaders (18-7, 10-4 PL) to just 18 points in the second.
With this win, the Terriers clinched a top-two seed and at least a share of the Patriot League regular season title.
The Crusaders rank second in the conference and were the only PL team the Terriers had not yet played.
“[It’s] just an exciting win for the program. This was a big game,” head coach Melissa Graves said. “[BU] did a great job of just being resilient … We handled the second half tremendously defensively. End of game, we were really composed, it was a great team effort.”
The Crusaders drained two threes in a row to take a 14-point lead in the middle of the second quarter and ultimately went 6-8 from beyond the arc in the first half. In the second half, Holy Cross slowed down, going 2-6 from three.
The teams traded steals and turnovers in the final few minutes of the first half, and despite scoring 33 points, the Terriers went into the locker room down eight points.
BU’s defense came out strong in the second half and held junior guard Bronagh Power-Cassidy, who averages 13.5 points per game for Holy Cross, to just five points in the matchup.
“We really adjusted at halftime to hold them to 18 points in the whole half where we gave up an 18-point quarter in the second quarter,” Graves said. “Because [Holy Cross was] so good defensively … we couldn’t rely on offense, we really had to focus on the defensive side and get stops. That’s what the game came down to in the end.”
The Terriers scored nearly the same amount in each quarter, but continued to limit the Crusaders’ scoring as the game progressed.
BU got into an offensive rhythm and started the second half off strong, bringing the score within one point after a 9-2 run to open the half.
Senior forward Maren Durant then sank two free throws to give the Terriers their first lead since the first five minutes of the game.
The Terriers and Crusaders entered the final quarter knotted at 50. Between creating shots and superb defense, the Terriers began to pull away and led 57-50 with six minutes left to play.
Despite not scoring for nearly ten minutes, Holy Cross continued to put up a fight. With just under a minute to play, BU led 62-57. The Crusaders made two of four foul shots in the final forty seconds to cut BU’s lead to just three points, but a key layup from junior forward Caitlin Weimar gave the Terriers a five-point lead with 14 seconds left.
Senior guard Maggie Pina shot 8-8 from the free throw line on the night, two of which came in the finals seconds of the game to secure the victory for the Terriers.
BU will travel to Lewisburg, PA this Saturday to face Bucknell University. With four games left in the regular season, including a rematch against Holy Cross, Graves said the goal for the Terriers is to “continue to improve defensively.”
“At this point in the season, we’re focusing on ourselves and proving to ourselves why we continue to be the number one team,” senior guard Sydney Johnson said. “So to beat the team that’s second in the league … it keeps us motivated and keeps us focused on doing the stuff that makes us a good team.”