All right, Boston University women’s basketball fans. Get out your pens and notebooks. It’s time to make some sense of the seeding possibilities for next week’s America East tournament, hosted by the University of Hartford.
Before the tournament gets underway, the Terriers (16-10, 9-6 America East) will head up Interstate-95 to Durham, N.H., for a showdown with the University of New Hampshire tonight in their final game of the regular season. Depending on the outcome of BU’s game and two others tomorrow, the Terriers could finish as high as second place, or as low as fifth.
In case you forgot, the University of Vermont has long since clinched the top seed in the tournament and will be favored to win the title, and the automatic NCAA Tournament bid that goes along with it, regardless of how the other seeds shake out. But Vermont still can have an impact on tournament seedings when they visit the State University of New York at Stony Brook on Saturday.
The Seawolves currently sit in seventh place in the standings at 7-8 after a 63-50 loss at SUNY-Binghamton last night. Binghamton’s win clarified things somewhat, but the entire picture won’t be known until after the conclusion of tomorrow’s games. With a final conference record of 10-6, Binghamton can finish no lower than fourth place, quite an accomplishment for a team in only its second year of Division I competition.
So far, all that is certain is this: Vermont is locked into the top seed and will face No. 8 Northeastern University. If the University of Maine wins at home on Saturday over the University of Hartford, the Black Bears clinch the No. 2 seed, regardless of any other results. Hartford would then finish sixth and meet the No. 3 seed in the first round. If BU wins at New Hampshire tonight, they will receive at least the No. 4 seed. BU can still get the second seed, but they need Maine to lose on Saturday. New Hampshire would get the fifth seed.
If BU and Maine both win, a coin will be flipped with Binghamton. The winner gets the third seed and a date with Hartford. The loser gets the fourth seed and New Hampshire. If BU loses to New Hampshire, the Terriers will finish fifth because they own the tie-breakers against Hartford and Stony Brook.
But before the Terriers can worry about scoreboard watching or tie-breaker scenarios, they must conquer a New Hampshire team that totally frustrated them the last time the two teams met. On Feb. 9 at Case Gymnasium, the Terriers got hammered on the boards and were lulled into a slow-paced half-court game that neutralized their superior speed and athleticism. Nonetheless, BU held a 49-48 lead with about five minutes remaining before the Wildcats scored the game’s final eight points to steal a 56-49 victory.
The Terriers will be looking to bounce back from a heartbreaking 67-64 loss at Maine on Sunday in which they blew a 10-point lead with less than 10 minutes to play. Katie Terhune scored a game-high 26 points, but was held to just one point over the final nine minutes.
The America East Tournament will get underway at Chase Family Arena with quarterfinal action on Thursday. The semifinals will be played at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. next Friday. The championship game will be at 3 p.m. the next day.