By: Ethan Fuller
BOSTON, MA — The roaring crowd of alumni and fans, the relentless ticking of the game clock and the pressure to take down a Patriot League foe all hung in the air on Saturday afternoon. But BU freshman Maggie Pina let everything fall away when she caught a pass from Sydney Johnson, shot without hesitation, and watched her game-tying triple fly through the basket with 23.9 seconds to go. In overtime, Pina’s stone-cold resolve never let up, as she scored ten of the Terriers’ 12 points to cap off a stunning comeback.
“You have to shoot when you can and if you miss it, you just keep going,” Pina said postgame. “I always forget by the next play. I have amnesia. If I turn it over or airball it, I’m gonna keep shooting.”
Down by 18 in the second quarter, Boston University women’s basketball appeared lost against rival Holy Cross. But a powerful display of resilience helped the Terriers pull off an improbable victory that brings them to an even 4-4 in the Patriot League (9-10 overall). The Crusaders drop to 5-3 in conference and 12-7 on the season.
Pina led the charge late, but the comeback effort was a genuine team win. With Nia Irving and Annabelle Larnard inactive due to injuries, and with Riley Childs fouling out late, 6-3 freshman Maren Durant had to take on the dynamic frontcourt duo of Lauren Manis and Megan Swords.
“She grew up throughout the game,” head coach Marisa Moseley said of Durant. “In the beginning she was fighting with [Swords], and Swords was winning the battle. And I told her ‘We need you to grow up and be a little tougher right now. There’s nothing to be scared of.’ She really answered the bell there.”
Durant finished with a monster 14 points, 12 boards and five blocks on the game. Swords made just two field goals in the second half. Lauren Manis scored a team-high 19 points, but it took her 18 shots to reach that total.
While most of the first half went haywire for BU, a late run in the second quarter helped slim the deficit from a 32-14 rout to a 38-31 contest at halftime. The active hands of freshman Sydney Johnson and junior Katie Nelson forced some key turnovers in BU’s press. Their tenacity seemed to reenergize the Terriers and spark a momentum shift that carried through the rest of the contest.
“I think that’s the toughness factor that we’ve been talking about with them,” Moseley said. “Making plays — it’s not just running plays. I was really proud of us getting in for loose balls and getting the jump balls when we needed it … They have to go take it. Nothing’s going to be handed to them.”
Pina led the way on the scoreboard with 23 points, but three other Terriers landed in double figures: Katie Nelson with 17, Durant with 14, and Johnson with 13 points. And junior wing Tenisha Pressley may have only scored five points, but she did not miss a shot while also grabbing three rebounds, handing out five assists, and guarding anyone necessary on defense.
Those five Terriers played the bulk of the crunch-time minutes. Having three freshmen on the court in clutch minutes might seem risky at first glance. But according to Pina, Moseley has emphasized with her team that “age doesn’t matter.”
“Every day at practice, having everyone from freshmen to seniors giving it their all gives us the confidence that our teammates are gonna push us as hard as anyone in the game will,” Pina said. “It really doesn’t matter how young you are as long as you’re a good, smart basketball player.
Moseley’s team stamps home preparedness, and when the squad gets ready to play at Loyola Maryland on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m., they’ll have to move on from Saturday. But make no mistake: to Moseley, this was a special win.
“To have been knocked out of the conference tournament last year by Holy Cross, to have lost three times in really close games, and for our kids to get down like they did and really fight back and know we can beat this team … no, this wasn’t just another game. This meant a lot.”
Featured image by Hannah Yoshinaga.