Basketball, Sports

W. basketball opens home season vs. Siena

It’s been 649 days since the Boston University women’s basketball team lost a contest at Case Gymnasium. Heading into tonight’s showdown with Siena College, the Terriers and BU coach Kelly Greenberg would like nothing more than to extend that streak to 650.

BU (1-0) has won 13 consecutive games at The Roof since dropping an 83-77 decision to Stony Brook University on Feb. 10, 2007. The Terriers were a perfect 11-0 at Case last season, with their only home loss coming at the hands of then-nationally ranked Ohio State University at Agganis Arena.

BU opened its season with a 50-45 win at the University of Rhode Island last Friday, and Greenberg said the Terriers can’t wait for tonight’s tip-off at The Roof.

‘We played last Friday night, and I’ll tell you what, it feels like two weeks ago,’ Greenberg said about the team’s anticipation of tonight’s contest. ‘[Case] is where we practice every day and this is where we’ve been since we came back to school, so we’re excited.’

The Saints (0-2) make the journey to Commonwealth Avenue in search of their first victory of the year, having dropped contests to Syracuse University and URI.

Senior Heather Stec is the only returning player to have started more than half of Siena’s games last season. The 6-foot-2 center has made her presence felt so far this year, pulling down 17 rebounds against URI while averaging 12 points and 13.5 rebounds per game.

‘[Stec’s] definitely legit,’ Greenberg said. ‘She’s a real nice player ‘- she can play inside, shoot the three, has a nice turn-around jumper off the dribble and can rebound the heck out of the ball as you saw with the 17 against URI.’

Stec is supported by a sharp-shooting backcourt, led by junior transfer Allie Lindemann. The 5-foot-8 shooting guard shot 43.1 percent from beyond the arc her sophomore season at Kirkwood Community College, and leads the Saints with 13.5 points per game so far this year. The Saints’ shooting game is also backed by freshman Brittany Wilwohl, who has averaged 12 ppg while knocking down 66 percent of her 3-point shots.

Greenberg said the Terriers plan to use a tight man-to-man defensive scheme to neutralize Siena’s shooting ability, meaning senior guards Amarachi Umez-Eronini and Christine Kinneary will be asked to pressure the Saints’ backcourt. The duo should be up to the task, as they combined for 109 steals in 2007-08, with Umez-Eronini earning a spot on the America East Defensive All-Conference team.

The man-to-man strategy also means senior Jesyka Burks-Wiley, a preseason First-Team All-Conference honoree, will often find herself in the paint guarding Stec. Although Burks-Wiley is no slouch on the defensive end, she does have a history of foul trouble. The 6-foot-1 forward fouled out seven times last year, averaging 3.3 fouls per game.

If Burks-Wiley winds up in foul trouble tonight, the Terriers could find themselves in a precarious situation. The BU frontcourt has been bitten hard by the injury bug, and with junior Aly Hinton coming back from two offseason knee surgeries, Greenberg wants to rest the 6-foot-1 forward as much as possible.

Hinton saw just 16 minutes in BU’s win over URI, but still managed to make her presence felt, scoring four points and pulling down six boards in limited time.

‘[Hinton’s] coming around, and every day she’s getting stronger,’ Greenberg said. ‘We’re trying not to play her too too much in practice, but she wants to give it a go because she knows she needs to get in better shape.

‘Going into the first game, we thought maybe we could bring her off the bench. Going into this game, she will definitely be our first sub off the bench.’

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