Women’s Basketball: BU finds a way to gut out 58-56 win over American

Featured image by Jacob Ireland

By Brian Foisy

With the game tied and 12 seconds left in regulation, Audrey Ericksen missed a left-corner 3 that could have given BU the lead. 

Amid commotion beneath the basket, senior American guard Ivy Bales got a hand on the rebound and tipped it to her teammate, Bailey Garbee, who attempted an outlet pass downcourt.

Seconds dwindled down as Ericksen sprinted to catch up to the ball as the overthrown heave was out of reach for Eagles’ sophomore Laura Nogues. The ball bounced into American’s offensive territory and Ericksen was the first to reach it. 

As BU’s freshman guard was gaining her footing, Nogues intentionally fouled her. Eriksen’s teammates gathered around, helping her up, half checking up on her and half congratulating the gritty heads up play that would end up sealing BU’s eventual 58-56 win over American.

“We love big moments,” junior guard Alex Giannaros said following Wednesday’s win. “Of course you want to win by 10, 15 points, but when you are in those situations, you want to do anything possible to get that win.”

Ericksen’s free-throw punctuated a 17-6 run for the Terriers, which started when they were down 11 points — their largest deficit of the night — four minutes into the fourth quarter.

“I thought we did what we needed to do to win. Obviously, it wasn’t a pretty game by any sense,” BU head coach Melissa Graves said postgame. 

The Terriers found themselves playing from behind for most of the game despite a strong effort in the first quarter, opening up the game on a 6-0 run.

Senior Caitlin Weimar started the game up to her typical Weimar things. The forward scored six points in the first quarter.

Even with an early lead, the warning signs were there for the run that the Eagles would soon go on.

“We didn’t shoot that bad in the first quarter which was crazy because we felt like we were missing almost every shot,” Giannaros said. 

American jumped on every mistake the Terriers made in the following quarters of the game, generating a majority of their offense off BU turnovers and from second-chance points. In those two areas, combined, the Eagles got 36 points, completely feasting on BU’s undisciplined moments. 

“Every team’s got area of improvements, I think, and those two are ours,” Graves said. 

When asked following the game if she believed the offensive rebounds were an area of concern, Graves said “oh, definitely,” which got a laugh out of Giannaros, who was seated to her left. 

“The turnover piece was one thing that we really focused on throughout the year…but, the o-board situation, giving up o-boards, has been a much bigger focus,” Graves said. 

American had full command of the offensive rebounds in the game, leading the Terriers 18-5 in that metric.

Behind their stellar play in those two facets of the game, the Eagles worked their way to an eight-point lead heading into halftime. 

A 7-4 BU run to open the third quarter cut American’s lead to five but a 5-2 run by the Eagles got their lead back up to eight halfway through the period. The Terriers almost tied it up by the end of the third but a missed floater from freshman Aoibhe Gormley and a last-second basket by American at the other end kept it a two possession game.

“We talked at halftime about trusting the process with our shots, we didn’t shoot it well in the second quarter, but we came out and we ended up around our percentages,” Graves said. 

After a scoreless start, the Terriers went on a 6-0 run halfway through the fourth. Weimar, who led all BU scorers with 20 points Wednesday, had a pick-and-roll play with senior Kelsi Mingo to put the cap on BU’s run, whittling the Eagles’ lead down to one. 

The final minutes of regulation were back and forth, but the Terriers managed to tie it with three minutes left and ended the game on a 7-3 run. 

“I think [the win] gives us a ton of confidence, especially talking about turnovers and rebounding, as long as we fix those two things, I think that we’re going to be fine and besides those two things, we’re really confident in everything that we’re doing,” Giannaros said. 

The Terriers (16-9, 8-6 Patriot League) will next travel to Baltimore to take on Loyola Maryland as they finish up their final four games of the regular season.