After starting off with a disappointing 0-2 record at its first ever home tournament at The Roof last weekend, the Boston University women’s basketball team took to the road this weekend looking to find a little beginner’s luck.
In their first ever appearance in the state of Tennessee, the Terriers split two games in their debut at the Vanderbilt Tournament, falling hard to the host Commodores, 92-56, Saturday, before BU bounced back with its first win of the season Sunday, a 98-80 drubbing over Austin Peay University.
It took the Terriers until their fourth game of the season to pull out a win, but in doing so they avoided the worst start since 1997-98, when BU sputtered to an 0-4 start.
BU must have picked up a few things after losing to No. 25 Vanderbilt, as it improved dramatically Sunday in almost all areas.
Freshman guard Katie Terhune continued her impressive start to the season, draining a game-high 30 points, knocking down 6-of-9 from three-point land, to lead the Terrier offense against Austin Peay in the consolation game.
Senior center Alison Dixon rained down 22 points of her own and sophomore guard Alison Argentieri added 20 points and a team-high seven rebounds to aid in the 98-point scoring effort.
After allowing Vanderbilt to shoot 54.1 percent from the floor a day earlier, BU stiffened its defense and Austin Peay shot just 39.7 percent from the floor and made just nine of 29 attempts from beyond the three-point arc. And, after coughing up 22 turnovers against the Commodores that led to 28 points, the Terriers lost the ball only 10 times yesterday, costing them just six points.
BU took a slim 40-36 lead into halftime, but the Terriers’ presence underneath the basket allowed them to pull away in the second. BU’s lead in the second half grew from four to 18 points, thanks in part to 38 points in the paint, compared to only 22 for Austin Peay. The Terriers continued their exceptional performance from the free throw line also, knocking down 24 of 26 shots from the line.
Going into the Vanderbilt Tournament, BU wanted to play some top-notch competition and the Terriers got that and then some from the Commodores.
BU saw just how far it needs to go to become a high caliber team against Vanderbilt, who completely dominated from the outset and never looked back.
Vanderbilt exploded to a 46-16 lead at halftime, as the Terriers made just five field goals in 25 attempts (20 percent) in the first half. The Commodores, meanwhile, had no trouble getting in the zone, as they shot over 53 percent, hitting 17 shots from the field and 10 free throws on 13 trips to the charity stripe.
BU made a respectable effort to climb back in the second, as Vanderbilt only outscored the Terriers 46-40. BU found its stroke almost immediately following halftime, hitting 13 of 29 attempts from the floor and holding Vanderbilt to 16 field goals and only one three pointer.
Still, the difference was the first half, and the Terriers could not dig themselves out of their early hole. Vanderbilt established itself inside, scoring 54 of its 92 points in the paint. Furthermore, the Terriers biggest opponent may have been themselves, as they gave up 28 points off of turnovers.
Four Commodore players scored in the double digits, including a double-double from forward Zuzi Klimesova (24 points, 16 rebounds), while only Terhune and Dixon managed to get more than 10 points for BU. No BU player grabbed more than four rebounds either, as Vanderbilt outrebounded the Terriers, 50-23.
Despite the split, the Terriers offense seems markedly improved from last season if their first four games are any example. After averaging low percentages from the floor last season, BU has seen convincing individual performances raise the level of play throughout the team.
Terhune, last week’s America East Rookie of the Week, upped her 15.1 points per game average this weekend, as she led BU in scoring against both Vanderbilt and Austin Peay. Dixon has continued to be a leaning post for the Terriers as well — the team’s lone senior has scored in double figures in every game so far this year.
If nothing else, BU’s new fast-paced offensive style has it scoring more points than ever. The Terriers have not traditionally been a high-scoring threat and they did not score more than 89 points in any game last season, but this year has been a different story. BU’s win against Austin Peay marked the third-highest game total in program history, and the squad is averaging just over 80 points per game this year, including exhibition games.