Basketball, NCAA, Sports

Once again, women’s basketball loses to Holy Cross in the Patriot League final

372 days ago, the Terriers lost to Holy Cross on their home floor in the Patriot League final. Fast forward to Sunday, and Boston University had an opportunity to return the favor on the Crusaders’ court.

Junior guard Alex Giannaros (10) dribbles the ball down the court in a game against Army on Feb. 14. The Terriers fell to Holy Cross 61-55 in the Patriot League final on Thursday. KATE KOTLYAR/DFP PHOTOGRAPHER

In search of its first trip to the big dance since 2003, the third-seeded BU women’s basketball team (20-12, 10-8 Patriot League) traveled to the Hart Center to square off against the top-seeded Crusaders (20-12, 11-7 PL), but fell 61-55.

The Terriers never led in the contest, turning the ball over 17 times in the process.

“I think we shot ourselves in the foot,” BU head coach Melissa Graves said.

The Crusaders were stout defensively, turning the Terriers over six times in the opening quarter.

Their plan on the defensive end was apparent from the jump: stop Terrier senior forward Caitlin Weimar, the PL Player of the Year.

“It’s not about stopping her, it’s about limiting her touches,” Crusaders head coach Maureen Magarity said. “I thought we did a fabulous job today of pushing her off the block.”

Weimar, who led the conference in scoring at 18.7 points per game, didn’t attempt a shot in the first 13 minutes of the game.

“[Holy Cross] was doubling on the catch, so I didn’t get as many looks as I wanted to,” Weimar said.

Weimar scored four points in the opening half on a mere three shot attempts.

A pair of threes, courtesy of freshman guards Inés Monteagudo Pardo and Aoibhe Gormley, cut the Crusader lead to 27-23 with just over two minutes to halftime.

Gormley, along with the rest of the freshman class, has been a pleasant surprise for the Terriers. Gormley collected 17 points and drained three 3-pointers on Sunday.

“It’s no surprise how [the freshmen] played. They’ve been doing it all season,” junior guard Alex Giannaros said.

“They took this opportunity and ran with it,” Weimar added.

For Holy Cross, the first half ended just as it began: with consecutive makes by senior guard Bronagh Power-Cassidy. She sank a deep three and followed it up by grabbing her own miss and laying it in to cap off a 7-0 run and a 34-23 lead for the Crusaders.

Power-Cassidy finished the game with a game-high 21 points, as well as eight rebounds and three steals. 

Holy Cross dominated the offensive glass, finishing with 12 offensive rebounds and 10 second-chance points, both double the Terriers’ marks.

BU shot their first free throw with eight seconds left in the third quarter and finished 5-7 from the charity stripe. The Crusaders went 17-25.

“They got to the free throw line a lot, which hurt us,” Graves said.

Even with the discrepancy, the Terriers went on an 11-1 run late in the third, cutting the deficit to 43-36, until senior guard Cara McCormack nailed a corner three at the buzzer, pushing the lead back to 10.

After Giannaros, who finished with 21 points, opened the fourth with two straight buckets, McCormack stayed hot, her teammates found her, and she struck back with a solo 5-0 run. Holy Cross led 51-40 with 6:57 to play.

“It’s really easy to be confident when everyone believes in you,” McCormack said.

The Terriers stood tall but could not cut the deficit to two possessions until the final minute.

Despite what last year’s final could have predicted, BU walked off the court on the wrong end, still in search of its ticket to March Madness. 

Graves is proud, even in defeat. In her first three seasons, her team has reached this point twice, and the vision remains the same.

With only three seniors and six freshmen on this year’s roster, Graves knows her team has what it takes to get over the hump.

“The expectation now is to always have the opportunity to win this [game],” she said. “That’s what we’re going to focus on moving forward.”


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  1. Orlando Emmerich

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