Basketball, Sports

Multiple players step up for BU women’s basketball early in season

In a season where the Boston University women’s basketball team is looking to craft its new identity after losing some of the most prolific players in program history to graduation, it is up to other members of the Terriers to step up and get the offense rolling.

“Coming into the season, that was something we kind of knew was going to be a problem, that we had to mesh together and get know how each other played,” said junior forward Mollie McKendrick. “I think as we progress through the season, we’ll start to get used to that.”

As the Terriers (1-2) continue finding their early-season legs, McKendrick has started coming into her own as an offensive presence following two consecutive double-digit scoring games and averaging 10 points per game thus far.

Although the sample size is small, it is easy to see that McKendrick is playing a larger role so far than she has in the past. She has been efficient on the court, as the Mildura, Australia native is currently shooting .500 from the field.

“She really put in a lot of work in the offseason, and she gives us something different … She has that little fadeaway that’s tough to guard,” said BU coach Kelly Greenberg. “She’s making great strides for us … She’s doing great things for us and we’re going to to continue to rely more and more on her.”

McKendrick is not the only Terrier aiding her team in this new era of women’s basketball. Most notably, senior forward Rashidat Agboola, senior guard Danielle Callahan, senior forward Whitney Turner, freshman forward Courtney Latham and sophomore guard Katie Poppe have all made major contributions to the scoreboard and the stat sheet.

Agboola is one of two remaining starters from last year, the other being Turner, and she is the team’s go-to when in need of some points, which is visible in her squad-leading 29 field goal attempts so far. She is also tied for first in the rebound category with Turner, each grabbing an average of 8.3 rebounds per game.

In her team-leading 111 minutes played, Callahan tops the points category with 41, averaging 13.7 a game, due in part to an impressive 27-point performance in BU’s first game of the season against Northeastern. She has been superb at the line, making 15 of 16 attempts. The Drexel Hill, Pa., native has also knocked down eight of her 18 3-point attempts for a .444 success rate, the best on the team.

Turner is a force to be reckoned with on the court, as she leads the team in field goal percentage, shooting .545 from the field. She is also first in rebounds, defensive rebounds, free throw attempts, and is second only to Callahan in points with 32, averaging 10.7 a game.

Latham is impressing in her rookie season, sporting a perfect 12-of-12 on free throws and averaging 7.7 points per game.

Although she may not have the most points on the team, Poppe brings a special brand of toughness to every game for the Terriers. In BU’s game against the University of Rhode Island, Poppe sunk a huge three that kept the Rams at bay and the Terriers ahead, eventually leading to their win.

“Katie Poppe is very, very tough,” Greenberg said, “If there’s something she’s going to bring to the court for us every time, it’s going to be toughness, and she did. And for her to knock that three down, it was big. Really, really big.”

Poppe is also third on the team in rebounds with 23 and is second on the team in minutes (28).

The Terriers are still looking to find their offensive rhythm. They have gotten off to slow starts in their past two games, but Greenberg said she is happy with the way her squad is progressing and learning from one another.

“It’s great,” Greenberg said of the team’s chemistry. “Sometimes you take it for granted, but our team is wonderful. They get along, they’re friends, they care about each other, they work hard together, they push each other. It’s great. It’s wonderful.”

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