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Verde’s return gives Terriers first conference win

Hello there. Nice to see you again.

For the first time this season, junior guard Pilar Verde returned to the lineup when the Boston University women’s basketball team hosted the University of Maine last night at The Roof. And Verde made her return a memorable one, scoring 14 points in the Terriers’ 86-64 victory, their first over the Black Bears since Feb. 12, 1998 and only their third in their last 17 meetings with Maine, dating back to 1993.

Without Verde on the floor during the first six games of the year, the Terrier offense was ragged and inconsistent at times. The Terriers averaged more than 20 turnovers a game without Verde in the lineup, including a whopping 35 in an overtime loss to Miami University (Ohio) at The Roof on Nov. 19. The frequent turnovers contributed to the Terriers’ defensive woes early in the season, when they gave up 88 points per game.

Verde shot 5-of-10 from the floor, including 4-of-6 from behind the three-point arc. More importantly, she made some big shots in big moments to keep the hosts safely in the lead throughout the contest.

“I hadn’t played in a month, and I knew [coming back] would be tough at first,” Verde said. “But once I hit the first shot, I was fine.”

After taking a 42-28 halftime lead, the Terriers’ offense hit a small lull in the opening minutes of the second half. But Verde’s third trey of the game pushed the lead to 49-32 with 16:22 left and jumpstarted a 9-4 Terrier run that blew the game open.

After a 9-2 Maine run cut the Terriers’ lead to 69-56 with 3:49 left, Verde ended any doubts by draining her fourth three-pointer to push the lead back to 16 points with 3:05 remaining.

Game, set and match.

In addition to her scoring, Verde led a dominating Terrier defensive performance that held the Black Bears to 37.3 percent shooting, forced 27 turnovers and blocked nine shots. Kizzy Lopez, Maine’s captain and lone senior, was held to 1-of-11 shooting from the field.

“We wanted to just press and run,” said BU coach Margaret McKeon. “When you put a lot of pressure on the guards and the perimeter, it makes it tough to get the ball inside. Maine has veteran post players who can score on the block. But if they can’t get the basketball, it’s tough to make shots.”

All in all, it wasn’t too bad for Verde’s first significant action after returning from an injury.

“My ankle was still a little sore, but I’m all right,” Verde said. “But I’m still working on it. I’m seeing the trainer every day, and they’re working on my ankle.”

Welcome back.

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