Basketball, Sports

BU overcomes UNH’s efficient 1st-half offense

Terrier junior guard Danielle Callahan put up 15 points and grabbed two steals in BU’s 59–45 victory over the University of New Hampshire. MICHELLE JAY/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
Terrier junior guard Danielle Callahan put up 15 points and grabbed two steals in BU’s 59–45 victory over the University of New Hampshire. MICHELLE JAY/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

A slow start did not stop the Boston University women’s basketball team, as a second-half turnaround allowed the Terriers (22–4, 11–1 America East) to defeat the University of New Hampshire 59–45 Saturday afternoon at Case Gym.

The win gave the Terriers their sixth consecutive victory and 12th straight against UNH (9–15, 4–7 America East).

In the opening minutes, BU coach Kelly Greenberg was visibly frustrated with her team. After senior guard Kristen Sims missed the opening shot of the game and a turnover by junior forward Rashidat Agboola gave the Wildcats a wide-open three, Greenberg called a timeout fewer than 90 seconds into the contest.

“Every single play means so much,” Greenberg said. “It’s important for us to stay alert, aware and have a genuine sense of urgency.”

The message at first seemed to be clear as the Terriers began to trade baskets with the Wildcats throughout the next six minutes of the game. Junior guard Danielle Callahan came off the bench during the early timeout and gave the Terriers a spark, hitting two baskets, including a trey, to make the score 12–12. But things slowed down a bit after the 3-pointer to tie up the score, as neither team scored for almost three minutes of play.

The Wildcats followed the lull with a 9–3 run, which gave them a 21–15 lead 13:24 into the first half of play. The UNH offense clicked, as it shot 47.8 percent from the field in the first half. It spread the ball around effectively, so it was difficult for the Terriers to pin down a single player to stop. Forwards Kaylee Kilpatrick and Morgan Frame contributed a combined 11 points for the Wildcats in the first half.

While the numbers looked impressive for the UNH offense, the Terriers were not as strong. BU shot 32.1 percent from the field and only went 3-for-11 from behind the 3-point arc. The team-leading scorer, senior guard Chantell Alford, went 0-for-7 in the first half.

“[UNH] came out real aggressive, they really played us,” Greenberg said. “We also had open shots and didn’t make them.”

Although things didn’t look stellar for BU in the first half, the team only found itself down by two points at the end of the frame, 26–24, aided by a 5–0 run in the final 1:05.

The second half opened up with the Terriers falling back, appearing to lose the momentum they gained at the end of the first. In the first six minutes, UNH went up 35–28 with the help of five points from guard Elizabeth Belanger.

With Alford looking cold, BU looked for other answers to get back into the game.

Callahan provided the offense with the jolt it needed, with help from Agboola and senior guard Mo Moran. The Terriers slowly inched their way back into the game and, after a layup by Agboola 12:43 into the frame, the game was all tied up at 39. The layup started a 20–7 run for the Terriers.

BU’s offense finally started to connect, as it shot 41.4 percent for the second half and nearly 70 percent from the free-throw line. Callahan and Agboola had 15 and 12 points respectively, as Callahan connected on three 3-pointers. Agboola just missed out on what would have been her eighth double-double of the season, grabbing nine rebounds.

To complement the stronger second-half offense, BU’s defense improved as well. The Terriers held UNH to only 25.9 percent shooting from the field in the second half, and gave up just six points in the final seven minutes of the game to secure the victory.

“Our zone [defense] was great,” Greenberg said. “We worked well together. Other than the long three that we gave up, I thought we did a nice job.”

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