Basketball, Sports

Women’s basketball survives late Lafayette surge, wins 50-49

Senior forward Naiyah Thompson in a November 2018 game against the University of New Hampshire. Three pointers from Thompson and sophmore guard Katie Nelson allowed BU to have a 14-13 lead at the end of the first quarter en route to a 50-49 victory over Lafayette Wednesday night. MADDIE MALHOTRA/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

The Boston University women’s basketball team came into Wednesday’s home matchup versus Lafayette College looking for the series sweep.

The Terriers (14-12, 10-6 Patriot League), after defeating the Leopards (7-20, 2-14 Patriot League) back in January, did just that in a thrilling game that went to the last buzzer, 50-49. BU shot just 35 percent from the field Wednesday night, meaning the turnover battle was especially important. They forced 21 turnovers overall while only giving up 14.

BU head coach Marisa Moseley said the Terriers’ success on defense was a key to the victory.

“Especially in that third quarter, we really turned up our defense, came up with some loose balls and got out in transition,” Moseley said. “I think our aggressiveness really helped.”

The game began with the Leopards quickly getting out to a 7-2 lead, but a layup by senior forward Naiyah Thompson and a 3-pointer from sophomore guard Katie Nelson evened the score. The first quarter ended with a 14-13 BU lead.

The second quarter saw the Leopards take the lead back quickly after a shot made by forward Natalie Kucowski. The period was back and forth with five lead changes, ending with the Terriers trailing by four at halftime 12-8.

BU’s deficit came in large part from the discrepancy in the field-goal percentage, with the Terriers shooting 28 percent and the Leopards making exactly half of their shots in the first half.

Freshman forward Riley Childs opened the second half with a quick bucket off of an offensive rebound. Childs would finish the game with 14 points and 13 rebounds for her second double-double of the season.

Both teams came out strong to begin the third quarter, with the Leopards increasing their lead to four after three minutes of play. The Terriers quickly got into foul trouble, with five fouls in the first four minutes.

A layup from Thompson brought the Terriers within one at the 6:28 mark, which sparked a 15-5 run by the Terriers to end the period with a 44-35 lead. Senior guard Payton Hauck led the charge with 10 points in the quarter.

BU stretched the lead to 11 on a jumper from Childs to begin the fourth. However, the Terriers did not score again for the next six-and-a-half minutes, allowing the Leopards to go on a 13-point run.

With the Terriers trailing by two with just under three minutes to play, a free throw by Childs followed by a 3-pointer from senior guard Lauren Spearman gave the Terriers a 2-point lead of 50-48.

With just one second left and the Leopards with possession, a foul was called on Hauck, and Kucowski was sent to the free throws line. She sunk the first, making it a 1-point game, but missed the next free throw and sent the ball into junior forward Nia Irving’s hands for the game-clinching rebound.

Despite allowing the Leopards to get into the bonus in the last two quarters, the Terriers were able to hold on for the win.

“We actually had a goal that we were going to try to not foul and get into the bonus in any of the quarters,” Moseley said about the Terriers’ foul woes. “Then, I think in the third quarter, we got like three fouls within 20 seconds, and now all the sudden we’re up to four fouls.”

The Terriers turn now to their last road matchup of the regular season at the United States Military Academy Saturday.

“They’re a really physical team, and they’re playing well,” Moseley said of Army. “They’re down to only like six players playing, but we really only play like six guys, too. I keep telling our guys road wins are really tough, so we’re going to have to go in and take the win.”

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