Basketball, NCAA, Sports

Women’s basketball win on opening night at the buzzer over UMass Lowell

Senior guard Sophie Beneventine dribbled the ball at midcourt as the clock rolled down from 10 seconds. With the score tied at 58, she found freshman guard Audrey Ericksen at the top of the key. Ericksen passed it to freshman guard Aoibhe Gormley as the clock reached five seconds. 

Senior forward Caitlin Weimar shoots a layup.
Senior forward Caitlin Weimar shoots a layup. Weimar scored 33 points in the women’s basketball team’s season opener, a 60-58 win against University of Massachusetts Lowell. KELLY BRODER/DFP PHOTOGRAPHER

Gormley lobbed a pass to senior forward Caitlin Weimar, who turned around and took a right-handed hook shot as Case Gym went silent and held its breath. As the buzzer sounded, the ball swished through the net. With a roaring crowd as witness, the Boston University women’s basketball team began the 2023-2034 season with a win, beating University of Massachusetts Lowell 60-58. 

“Honestly, I just remember [Gormley] passing me the ball [and] people counting down with two seconds, and I just threw up a hook shot and hoped for the best,” Weimar said. 

It was a career night for the senior in her first game since being named the Preseason Patriot League Player and Defensive Player of the Year, scoring a career-high 33 points and hauling in 12 rebounds. 

It was an up-and-down game for the Terriers overall, however. They spent the first quarter shaking off the offseason rust, shooting just 4-15 from the field. Despite that, their defense kept them in the game early and BU only allowed 12 points in the first quarter, and they headed into the second down 12-11. 

BU came out firing in the second, going on a 10-3 run in the first three minutes of the quarter and jumping out to a six-point lead. 

Head coach Melissa Graves cited an increased dedication to pressing the River Hawks as a reason behind the team’s quick start in the second quarter. 

“We’ve had some slow starts in our scrimmages and at practice, so I thought staying in that press really helped us,” Graves said. “Once we started getting steals and tips out of it, that gave us some confidence.” 

The Terriers stretched their lead out to 12 toward the end of the second, but a strong frame from UMass Lowell saw the lead dwindle down to five by the end of the third.

Once the fourth began, the River Hawks began mounting their comeback in earnest. With just four minutes to play, a jumper from freshman forward Rayne Durant gave UMass Lowell the lead. From there, it was a back-and-forth affair until the last second. 

After Durant took the lead, however, Weimar carried the Terriers in clutch time. She scored all of the team’s final seven points.

“[Weimar] had a phenomenal career day today, including [scoring] the game-winner,” Graves said. “We found a way to get it done, [but] we want to improve off this game.”

Weimar’s efforts were supported by Gormley, who played a key defensive role in BU’s win. Gormley had multiple tipped passes and three steals, including one that led to two critical free throws from Weimar to give BU a late lead. 

Gormley also racked up four rebounds and four assists, including one on the game-winning basket.

“[Gormley] has been working on being vocal and on her calmness at the point,” Graves said. “She’s been coming in and doing a great job consistently in practice, which obviously showed today in the game.” 

For the River Hawks, senior guard Leilani Rodriguez led the way, scoring 20 points and dishing out two assists. With 21 seconds left, however, she missed a key free throw that would have given UMass Lowell a one point lead.

In the end, it did not matter, as Weimar knocked down the turnaround hook shot as time expired to give the Terriers the win. 

BU looks to build off its opening night win with another game at home on Friday, this time against the University of New Hampshire. Tip-off is set for 5 p.m.

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