Women’s Basketball: Third quarter comeback not enough for BU to avenge Holy Cross

Featured image by Jacob Ireland

By Luke Scotchie

WORCESTER, Mass. — As soon as they made it to their locker room after the halftime buzzer sounded, Boston University women’s basketball (13-7, 5-4 PL) knew it would be an uphill battle to defeat Holy Cross (14-6, 8-1 PL).

The Terriers had kept their deficit razor-thin throughout most of the first half. But things began to unravel once Holy Cross guard Cara McCormack sliced through BU’s interior defense and tossed in a layup with 2:46 to go.

After McCormack’s layup, there was nothing BU could do to stop their opponents. The Crusaders scored 10 more points without letting any of the Terriers’ shots touch the net before halftime. BU battled in the second half, but couldn’t overcome poor shooting in a 60-51 loss to Holy Cross on Monday.

“[Holy Cross] played a great game,” BU head coach Melissa Graves said postgame. “Maureen [Magarity, Holy Cross head coach] does a great job in game planning.”

But the run didn’t stop the Terriers from attempting to defy the odds, no matter how few of them seemed to be in their favor. Graves rallied her troops at halftime and discussed the adjustments they needed to make.

“They went on their run and now we have to come out on the half and make a run for ourselves,” Graves said. “And so they were locked in on that, especially on the defensive side.”

When they returned to the court, the Terriers looked like a completely different team on defense. It could be said that Holy cross struggled out of the gate, but it was a gate that the Terriers would refuse to unlock. 

BU forced turnovers on each of Holy Cross’ first four possessions in the second half. Very quickly, the Crusaders’ seemingly-insurmountable lead had shrunk enough to become a one-possession game.

But while the Terriers’ defense remained impenetrable, their offense couldn’t match its intensity. BU shot a season-low 29% from the field, undoing nearly all of their success on defense. It wasn’t long before the Crusaders figured out the Terriers’ defense, and they slowly but surely regained their massive lead as the game went on.

The Terriers could not do the same.

“I thought we had some good quarters and some good moments throughout the game,” Graves said. “It just wasn’t consistent enough on the offensive side.”

BU did show some flashes of good offense on Monday. Senior guard Kelsi Mingo finished with 15 points and made four of her five attempts from beyond the arc, proving that 3-pointers weren’t impossible to come by.

“Kelsi’s playing with really great confidence,” Graves said. “To have somebody else that can stretch the floor and be a scorer on the floor when they are sagging in on Cait [Weimar], it’s crucial for us and she’s playing really consistently, game in and game out.”

The Terriers’ pick-and-roll duo of senior forward Caitlin Weimar and junior guard Alex Giannaros also found some success during this game. For as frequently as it was used on Monday, the play generated some great looks together and reflects the faith Graves has in its two operators.

“Coach has put a lot of trust in us and we try our best to produce for that,” Weimar said. “And also the team has put a lot of trust in us, which we really appreciate.”

But ultimately, it wasn’t enough. Mingo’s 15 points, the Terriers’ staunch defense and even Weimar’s 17 rebounds weren’t enough to defeat Holy Cross and avenge their Patriot League title game defeat in 2023.

“It definitely is a harder loss just because of how last year went,” Weimar said. “But we try our best to learn from every loss and … we’ll see them again.”

The Terriers will continue on their road trip and travel to Bethlehem, Pa., where they will take on Lehigh University on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. 

But they will not go their separate ways from Holy Cross just yet. They will welcome the Crusaders to Case Gymnasium on March 2, their final home game of the regular season, for a chance to even the score with their rival. 

And the Terriers are ready for another chance.

“Not that they’ve played them and they can see, where are the ways that maybe we can beat them,” Graves said, “It is a winnable game, if we can execute.”