AU women’s basketball snaps Boston University’s seven-game win streak
Sanders and Edwards stand out in a thriller Saturday afternoon
AU women's basketball took another stride in the right direction with the playoffs nearing as they beat the Boston University Terriers 55-54 on Saturday afternoon inside Bender Arena.
Prior to this match, AU had lost to the Terriers on Jan. 5 59-44. AU was tremendously outmatched in that game by BU’s size, so the players knew their approach had to be different in this game in order to win the match.
“The last game they killed us on the boards, they got every rebound so the top of the report was to get every rebound and box out,” sophomore guard Jade Edwards said following Saturday's win. This point of emphasis showed as AU grabbed a total of 10 offensive rebounds in the game.
AU (11-14, 7-8 PL) won behind the strong play of Edwards and junior guard Ineya Sanders to snap BU’s (15-11,10-5 PL) seven-game winning streak coming into Saturday’s contest. The Terriers have not lost since their Jan. 22 game against Navy.
Edwards finished the game with her fourth double-double of the season scoring 11 points and snagging 11 rebounds. Sanders finished with an equally important stat line compiling seven points, eight rebounds, and a game-high 10 assists.
AU also received help from sophomore guard Maggie Doring, who had 10 points with two three-pointers made, and senior guard Kaitlyn Marenyi who went 5-5 from the free-throw line and had nine points.
The win wasn’t an easy one for the Eagles. AU was down at half 26-22 and to that point had only shot 6-22 from the field, so things were not panning out as head coach Megan Gebbia had hoped for.
“I basically told them you’re better than what you are showing ... I guess it’s just playing loose right?” Gebbia said. “Because if you’re thinking too much in the first half, you’re stressed when you’re shooting the three. You can never emulate somebody’s defense in practice as well as you would like to, so when you get into a game your heart rate is racing a little bit more and just to kind of calm down and make better decisions.”
The Eagles shooting struggles continued into the third, connecting on just 27 percent of shots from the field through the first three quarters. But the team managed to cut a six-point deficit at the half to just three thanks to an and-one layup from Marenyi with 4.6 seconds left in the third. The shot set up a monstrous fourth quarter for the Eagles, which secured AU the win.
AU’s defense was a major factor in the performance, forcing 13 turnovers and holding BU to just 6-15 shooting in the fourth quarter.
“Our defense is what did it for us, had some big plays by Taylor Brown and Jade Edwards in the fourth quarter and huge stops made the difference in the game for us,” Marenyi said.
Everything seemed to work in the Eagles’ favor from the start of the fourth quarter. A mere 12 seconds in, forward Taylor Brown made an and-one layup to tie up the game. Following the momentum-changing basket from Brown and a lead securing jump shot by Edwards following that, AU could not be contained for the remainder of the game.
AU went on an 11-0 run from the start of the fourth until the last 5:04 of the game. In those last five minutes, BU tried to swing the game in their favor with the strong play of both sophomore forward Riley Childs and freshman guard Maggie Pina.
Childs had an impressive game with many clutch layups in the fourth quarter and tenacious rebounding efforts throughout the contest to help give BU an edge with their size. Pina also had a notable performance hitting two clutch three-pointers in the game, one as time expired before half-time and another one with 4.8 seconds left in the fourth, tying up the game for the Terriers with a short time left.
Her efforts proved fruitless, however, as Edwards hit the game-winning free throw to secure the win for the Eagles. AU kept their composure in a tense, tie-game situation and secured the win when Edwards drew a shooting foul on a layup with 0.3 seconds left on the clock. With all of Bender Arena holding its breath, Edwards calmly sank the first free throw attempt, putting the Eagles up one. The buzzer sounded as her second attempt rimmed out, leaving no time for BU to hoist up a full-court prayer.
AU looks to carry this momentum into Wednesday’s road matchup against Lafayette University at 7 p.m.