By Michael Wax
Boston University (6-7 2-0 PL) outscored Loyola Maryland (3-8, 0-1 PL) 21-10 in the fourth quarter Wednesday night, prevailing 64-51.
Junior guard Sydney Johnson led the Terriers with 18 points in her second game back from injury.
“Yeah, it was definitely nice to have one game where I kind of ease back into things, get my legs underneath me, get my lungs back,” Johnson said. ”Jumping into this game, it’s really just trying to be mentally tough, knowing that you’re going to be playing more minutes. Like when you’re getting tired telling yourself you’re not really tired and just kind of pushing through.”
BU’s leading scorer played 37 minutes in Wednesday’s contest, an increase from the 25 minutes Johnson played in her return. She got off to a slow start, but put up 16 points and went 8-of-10 from the free-throw line in the second half.
“It was really hard for Loyola to contain Sydney,” said BU head coach Melissa Graves. “She’s a player that she knows she can get to the basketball at times, that’s her forte. So I thought she did a really good job getting into the basket and getting to the free-throw line.”
While Johnson handled most of the scoring workload in the final period, the Terriers had a balanced scoring attack for the majority of the game. Sophomore center Caitlin Weimar put up 13 points — her third consecutive game in double figures — while Patriot League Rookie of the Week Alex Giannaros chipped in 13 points as well. The bench also contributed 25 points in the win.
“Our bench has been doing a tremendous job to just come in ready when their name is called,” Graves said.
Junior center Maren Durant, senior forward Riley Childs and Weimar headlined an exceptional performance from BU on the glass. Durant’s seven offensive rebounds, and 14 rebounds overall, led the Terriers, while Childs put up 13 rebounds of her own. Durant and Weimar also combined for seven blocks.
“We’re really fortunate to have two players like Caitlin [Weimar] and Maren [Durant] on our side,” said Graves. “They’re probably two of the biggest in the Patriot League and I think it’s just going to be difficult for some post players to shoot over them. We talk a lot about playing as long as possible, making people shoot over them, playing clean, and I thought they did a really good job of that.”
Not only did BU feature a balanced scoring attack, but each player in the Terriers’ rotation bought into the defensive system. BU held the Greyhounds to 33.3% shooting from the floor and held Loyola Maryland’s three highest scorers — Bri Rozzi, Taleah Dixon, and Lex Therien — to a combined 8-for-32 shooting night.
BU put up its lowest turnover total of the entire season against Loyola Maryland, only turning the ball over eight times. With most of these turnovers occurring in the second half, Graves wants the team to go back to the basics in limiting turnovers for its next contest.
“That’s a daily focus for us,” Graves said. “I would just love to continue to improve on that and, and have that showing in our next game that we’re taking care of the basketball and valuing the basketball.”
The Terriers will look to improve to 3-0 in conference play on Saturday when they take on American at home at 1 p.m.