Featured image by Jacob Ireland
By Finn Rogan
The Boston University women’s basketball team (3-0) and head coach Melissa Graves exorcized their demons against Ivy League opponents on Tuesday night, defeating the Yale Bulldogs (0-3) 60-53 at Case Gym.
Graves entered the game winless in her BU career against the Ivy League with a previous record of 0-5.
“All the teams that we play within the Ivy League have been really tough teams,” Graves said. “We knew coming into this we really needed to match their toughness.”
The Terriers did just that after winning the opening tip. The first few minutes of the game were tightly contested with neither team building a sustainable lead. BU played at a fast pace early, and they remained aggressive on defense with a first-quarter press.
Halfway through the first quarter, star senior forward Caitlin Weimar got going with back-to-back inside buckets assisted by freshman guard Aoibhe Gormley.
The game was tied 12-12 as time expired in what was a very physical first quarter of basketball.
Yale took a four-point lead to start the second quarter with an impressive finish from senior guard Jenna Clark and a successful trip to the line from junior forward Grace Thybulle. It would end up being the largest lead of the game for the Bulldogs.
BU found success late in the quarter with a two-big lineup, led by Weimar and freshmen forward Anete Adler. Adler checked back into the game with six minutes left in the first half. The score was tied at 17, and when she checked back out in the final minute, BU had opened up a 30-23 lead. The size of Weimar and Adler proved to be too difficult for Yale to overcome, as they would struggle all game with foul trouble and a lack of defensive size down low.
“I think we are going to have that advantage on most teams that we play,” Graves said. She added that the duo of Weimar and Adler have “really been working in practice on their high low, how to cut off with each other, how to play together.”
It will be important for Weimar, 6-foot-4, and Adler, 6-foot-5, to continue gaining chemistry. If they do, BU will have the size advantage in most games they play.
A late 8-0 run and frisky defensive play sent BU to the half leading 30-25. Seven of Yale’s 20 turnovers took place in the second quarter, as they never looked completely comfortable on offense.
The third quarter brought with it real trouble on the glass for the Terriers. Although they defended well in the period, Yale managed to grab 10 offensive rebounds, many of them uncontested. The Bulldogs finished the game with 22 offensive boards.
“We tend to sometimes just turn to the rim and stare at the ball,” Graves said.
She said rebounding is something the Terriers are consistently working on and improving in practice.
Yale got BU’s lead down to three in the back half of the third quarter. BU responded with a great pass from Weimar to Adler inside, where she easily finished with just over two minutes left in the period. After that possession, the Terriers locked in on the glass and defensively, and found themselves ahead 43-36 at the end of the quarter.
The Bulldogs once again had the lead down to three early in the fourth quarter, and once again they did not capitalize. Thybulle fouled out two minutes into the period, killing any chance her team had at slowing down Weimar.
Back-to-back buckets from Gormley and junior guard Alex Giannaros brought the Terrier lead to 8 points with just over four minutes remaining. BU closed out the game with defensive stops, and successful trips to the line, going on to win by seven.
Weimar impressed again, finishing with a double-double. She scored 22 points and pulled in 12 rebounds while also recording a block and a steal. Yale did everything they could to slow her down, but Weimar was consistently able to find her shot.
“Working together as a team is the only way that we can win and I feel like our team has definitely been showing a lot of progress,” Weimar said.
BU will hope to stay undefeated over the weekend as they head to Lawrenceville, New Jersey to take on Rider on Saturday at 2 p.m.