Boston University women’s basketball snapped its 17-0 Patriot League win streak in a 57-53 loss to the College of the Holy Cross on Wednesday.
The Terriers (22-7, 17-1 Patriot League) aimed to finish a series sweep of Holy Cross (21-8, 13-5 PL) but were unable to do so as the Crusaders stifled the potent BU offense.
“I don’t want this game to take away from what we’ve done,” said head coach Melissa Graves. “We’ve broken a lot of records, we’ve secured the one seed, we’ve won the regular season and now we’re back at home, and we have home court advantage for the postseason tournament.”
In addition to taking the Turnpike Trophy home, Holy Cross clinched the second seed in the Patriot League tournament. BU secured the Patriot League regular season championship and the first seed weeks ago.
The Terriers’ win streak looked like it might stay intact when they came out strong in the first quarter. At the end of the first 10 minutes, BU was up 19-10.
Junior forward Caitlin Weimar looked like she might replicate last Wednesday’s 32-point performance after scoring nine points in the first quarter.
At the end of the first, Weimar went down with what appeared to be an ankle issue and was slow to get off the court. She returned to play with a newly-taped ankle — in addition to the brace she already had on her other ankle — just over three minutes into the second quarter.
Holy Cross held Weimar to 11 points for the entire game, and she was only able to add two points after the second quarter. However, she still totaled seven rebounds, using her height to her advantage, and stayed on the court for 29 minutes despite her injury.
The Crusaders countered BU’s hot start with a strong second quarter. The Terriers were able to add to their lead early in the stanza, going up 24-12. The scoring then flipped as Holy Cross went on to outscore BU 19-11, nearly tying the Terriers going into the half and clearly picking up speed.
Sophomore forward Lindsay Berger was a big factor in the Crusaders’ success. She was the highest-scoring player in the game with 22 total points and a 62.5% success rate from the field, although she had no assists and only one offensive rebound.
BU was able to bounce back in a close, back-and-forth third quarter. The Crusaders barely outscored the Terriers 17-16. At one point, Holy Cross led by eight points, but BU clawed back to tie the game at 46-46 by the end of the quarter.
“At halftime, we just wanted the energy to go up,” Graves said. “The vibe was a little off because of the environment we were playing in. It’s not an easy place to play.”
The noisy Hart Center Arena was packed with Crusaders from other sports, including the football team sitting under one of the nets.
BU was still able to keep the game close. In the final few minutes, they repeatedly fouled the Crusaders to stop the clock and try to win the ball back. With four seconds left and down by two points, senior forward Maren Durant fouled Crusader freshman guard Simone Foreman.
Foreman sank both free throws to ice the game. As a last-ditch effort, Terrier senior guard Sydney Johnson tried to sink a three pointer, but Berger rebounded the ball and held onto it as the final buzzer sounded.
Defense was not BU’s issue. The Terriers held Holy Cross to 57 points, under their season scoring average.
Durant stood out on the back end with 10 defensive rebounds out of her 12 total. She blocked three shots and ran up six points to contribute to the offensive effort.
“She made some big plays [going] back to the basket because she had some big blocks,” Graves said. “One of the best things she did — what she always does, and consistently — is rebound the basketball.”
Instead, offense was the main problem plaguing the Terriers. Weimar, the team’s leading scorer, was shut down for most of the game, and the same goes for Johnson, their second-highest season scorer, who was held to only nine points total and 37.5% from the field. The Terriers committed 20 turnovers and Holy Cross capitalized, scoring 17 points on possession changes.
Despite the tough loss, BU is still looking ahead to tournament play.
“We want to learn from this game and then move on because it’s a new season,” Graves said. “Now it’s survive and advance, it’s win or go home.”
The Terriers get a bye for the first round of the tournament on Saturday and will go on to play the winner of Saturday’s game between Loyola University Maryland and Lafayette College in the quarterfinals on Monday at 6 p.m.