Basketball, NCAA, Sports

Women’s basketball beats Colgate in PL semifinal to advance to PL final rematch against Holy Cross

The Boston University women’s basketball team advanced to the Patriot League Championship for the second year in a row after a 52-40 semifinal win over the Colgate Raiders. 

Senior guard Sophie Beneventine (40) gets ready to shoot a basket in a previous game against Lehigh University on Feb. 28. The Terriers won against Colgate University, 52-40, making it to the Patriot League Championship. ZACH SCHWARTZ/DFP PHOTOGRAPHER

Despite their last showing in the regular season finale against the Raiders, in which BU struggled to gain offensive momentum, the Terriers — especially senior forward Caitlin Weimar and junior guard Alex Giannaros —  had a significantly stronger opening frame. 

Weimar, Patriot League player and defensive player of the year had 10 points at the end of the first quarter, and ended the game with 26 points and two assists as the Raiders struggled to find a match for her. Giannaros finished with 14 points and four assists.  

“[Weimar] did a really good job of finishing around the rim and getting to the free throw line, and obviously, blocking some shots, rebounding the ball. I thought she had a tremendous overall game today,” head coach Melissa Graves said.

The Terriers (20-11, 11-8 PL) set the tone early and grabbed the lead within the first few minutes, which they held onto throughout the game. The Raiders (18-13, 10-9 PL) just could not make their shots, shooting 20% overall. 

BU took advantage of the presented opportunities, scoring 20 points off Colgate’s 14 turnovers in the game, and the Terriers scored 38 of their 52 points in the paint. The Terriers went on an eight-point run in the middle of the second quarter to extend their 19-12 first-quarter lead to 31-18 at the half.

Colgate senior forward Tiasia McMillan majorly contributed to Colgate’s comeback victory over Navy in the team’s quarterfinal game on Monday  — and has scored double digits in the past few games — but she was held to just four points by the Terrier’s defense.

“We doubled McMillan every time she dribbled the ball on the post, and so that’s where you get the five turnovers for her but that was a focus for us,” Graves said. “She had two huge games, over 20 points each game against us and has been really hot, so we really wanted to focus in on her and I thought again, we did a good job of locking in on the game plan and trying to make it really difficult for them in that sense.”

In the third quarter, two steals and four made free-throw points within 20 seconds by the Raiders gave them life, nearly shrinking their deficit to single digits with five minutes left in the third.

Weimar grabbed an and-one play to bring the Terriers back up by 12 at the end of the third, and Colgate scored no points in nearly the first four minutes of the final frame. The Raiders had six straight offensive rebounds in the minute, but still could not sink shots for the comeback. 

The Terriers will meet the Holy Cross Crusaders in the PL Final on Sunday at noon. 

BU and Holy Cross split the regular season matchups, with each team winning at home. The Terriers’ success against the Crusaders came from adjusting to their style of play and executing offensively. 

“We just have to execute those things again and trust the things that have worked and still get the ball to Cait when we can, but we have to play off of her too, because they are going to double and triple team her, as opposed to tonight. It’s not going to be one-on-one coverage,” Graves said. ”We just have to be able to punish those things and have great shots.”

Not only is the trophy and the automatic bid into the NCAA tournament on the line, but Sunday will also be a rematch from last year’s final, when the Crusaders took home the trophy in a 66-61 victory. 

“Going back now to their place being in a championship again in a similar scenario, it’s exciting,” Graves said. “This team really wants to win it.”

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