BU women’s basketball dominated in the extra time needed to punch their ticket to the Patriot League Championship, defeating the United States Military Academy 84-68.
Sophomore guard Alex Giannaros hit a three to open the scoring in overtime, starting the Terriers (24-7, 17-1 PL) out strong. But once junior forward Caitlin Weimar and senior forward Maren Durant started dishing the ball out to each other, head coach Melissa Graves knew they would win.
“[Giannaros’] shot was really big to get the momentum going,” Graves said. “Once [Durant and Weimar] started scoring down low, and we ran the same play pretty much all of overtime to get them the ball inside and it was really, really successful, I was like, ‘Yeah, this is ours right now.’”
The Terriers did not allow the Black Knights (13-17, 10-8 PL) to score a single point in the entirety of the overtime period after 40 minutes of high-powered offensive play.
Weimar and Durant led the team with 21 and 18 points, respectively. The pair also recorded a double-double each for Weimar’s 15th of the season and Durant’s fifth.
“Our connection on the court is just a testament to our chemistry off the court,” Durant said about Weimar. “[We know] that we’re both threats inside, but we have different skill sets, so that makes [us] a really tough guard for other teams, knowing who to double or who not to double because it really opens up for either of us or for the guards.”
Army’s freshman guard Reese Ericson paced the Black Knights with 19 points, but the PL Rookie of the Year’s efforts weren’t enough.
The Terriers struggled with the Black Knights’ guards, who attempted 31 threes. Senior guard Hope Brown, who averages 5.5 points per game, had 12 points on 4-7 shooting from three.
“We could have done a better job at [defending] the three, but they had kids hitting threes too [who] don’t normally hit like that,” Graves said. “So we just got to take it into the next game… and really recognize that, being able to contest shooters better.”
The Terriers and the Black Knights both mounted comebacks, each returning from double-digit deficits.
At the end of the first quarter, the Black Knights led 21-13. Ericson led the way for both sides with 10 points. The Terriers went 0-5 from three in the first quarter and found themselves down by 10 early in the second.
But by the time the halftime buzzer rang, BU had crept back into the game and headed into the locker room with a nine-point lead. The Terriers started the third quarter with a seven-point run to extend BU’s lead to 44-28.
Army was not entirely out of the game yet, though. Alongside a trio of Ericson threes, two other Black Knights scored triples to cut into the Terrier lead and end the third down by only seven.
By the end of the final quarter, Army crawled to a one-point deficit with five minutes to go and ultimately tied the game at 65 apiece with just over 90 seconds left.
With 41 seconds to go, BU led 68-65, but Army junior guard Lauren Lithgow hit all three of her free throws awarded on a foul by Terrier sophomore guard Lauren Davenport to knot the game at 68.
The Terriers couldn’t convert what would’ve been the game-winning bucket in the final possession of regulation, but Graves did not want the team to bring any negative emotions into overtime.
“I just said, ‘We’re fine. We just got to take care of business,’” Graves said. “We had some mishaps on our end on coverages that we don’t normally have on defense throughout the game, so I just said, ‘We need to focus back on what we’re supposed to do.’”
The Terriers will host the College of the Holy Cross for the PL Championship game. The two teams split their regular season series with each team winning in their home gym. Holy Cross is also the only team in the Patriot League that has beaten BU this season. Tip-off is set for noon on Sunday in Case Gym.
“I’m just excited for the program. They’ve done so much already with breaking records, setting new records … [getting their] first regular season title in the Patriot League,” Graves said. “There’s still work to be done. Obviously, we still got one more game to win, but [I’m] just really proud of them for putting themselves in the position to be able to host.”