BOSTON – The University of Maine women’s basketball team has been subjected to tremendous defensive pressure by opponents in recent games.
Boston University implemented the same strategy Tuesday night, utilizing effective full-court pressure and half-court trapping that resulted in 27 Black Bear turnovers and paved the way for an 86-64 victory in the America East opener for both teams at Case Gym.
The Terriers (3-4) used the same game plan implemented last week by Northwestern State and Stephen F. Austin against the Bears, who were unable to negotiate the pressure the way they had in Saturday’s double-overtime loss at Stephen F. Austin.
“They took us out of our game immediately and we had no one that wanted to handle the ball, which was very different than when we played Stephen F. Austin, whose pressure is incredible,” said UMaine coach Sharon Versyp, clearly disappointed about her team’s performance.
UMaine, now 2-4, has lost four consecutive games for the first time since former coach Joanne Palombo-McCallie’s first Black Bear squad during the 1992-93 season.
The Bears, who had been able to curb their turnovers (16) in Saturday’s double-overtime loss to the Ladyjacks, clearly were frazzled by the Terriers’ tenacious defense. UMaine’s frequent miscues provided a potent BU team with all the extra scoring opportunities it would need to get an early lead and maintain it.
Sophomore point guard Ellen Geraghty admitted UMaine was unable to answer the press, despite having played well Saturday.
“Our team CAN handle pressure, despite what we showed tonight,” said Geraghty, who had nine turnovers. “We didn’t execute, we didn’t have patience and I personally take responsibility for that.
“There’s no excuse for our performance tonight. There’s no excuse at all,” Geraghty said.
Freshman Heather Ernest of Temple led the Bears with 16 points and eight rebounds, but committed six turnovers. Geraghty contributed 14 points, making 10 of 11 from the foul line.
Sophomore center Christy Grover of Bucksport finished with 12 points and seven rebounds for UMaine, which outrebounded the Terriers 43-31 but shot 37 percent from the field.
Freshman guard Katie Terhune led the way for BU with 22 points on 10-for-18 shooting, while Alison Dixon provided 16 points and five rebounds and Pilar Verde 14 points on four 3-pointers.
Boston University, which turned the ball over 16 times, ran to an early 15-3 lead and eventually pushed its advantage to as many as 21 points in the second half. The Terriers were effective with their transition game and were able to attack the middle of the tired UMaine defense as the game wore on.
The Bears refused to roll over, putting together an 8-0 scoring run in the second half to get within 67-54 at the 5:20 mark, but Terhune hit a baseline jumper that ended the spurt.
UMaine sophomore forward Anna James missed her second straight game with a sprained right hand suffered during last Friday’s practice in Texas.
The Terriers went after the Bears from the outset at the defensive end, pressuring full-court and trapping once the ball was in the frontcourt. The result was 17 first-half turnovers by UMaine, which BU used to build a solid 42-28 halftime advantage.
“We felt that in this conference we can press and get after people,” said BU coach Margaret McKeon. “We wanted to press and run, press and run. That’s the style that we want to play this year. We felt we could press them for 40 minutes.”
The Bears exerted tremendous energy attempting to break the BU pressure, then appeared to rush once able to negotiate the trapping. The Terriers pulled out to a 15-3 lead in the first 51/2 minutes, with Dia Dufault and Terhune each scoring five points, including a 3-pointer.
UMaine wasn’t able to establish any consistency on the offensive end, while BU connected on 55 percent of its shots. The Terriers exhibited good patience against the Bears’ man-to-man and 1-2-2 zone when the fast break wasn’t there, and they demonstrated their offensive potency while putting seven players in the scoring column. BU was especially effective from long range, hitting five of eight 3-pointers.
The Terriers turned the ball over eight times in the half.
Ernest paced UMaine with 11 first-half points on 5-for-7 shooting, but none of her teammates were able to get into the offensive flow. Geraghty scored six points and committed six turnovers, while Lacey Stone provided five points and four rebounds.
Terriers 86, Black Bears 64
Maine (2-4) Boston Univ. (3-4)
Player G AG F AF TP Player G AG F AF TP
Lopez 1 11 0 1 2 Dixon 8 14 0 2 16
Stone 3 7 0 0 7 Argentieri 1 2 0 0 3
Veilleux 2 8 2 2 6 Terhune 10 18 1 2 22
Geraghty 2 7 10 11 14 Tomasini 2 3 2 3 6
Grover 4 7 4 5 12 Dufault 3 10 2 2 9
Heon 0 0 0 0 0 Jones 1 2 4 4 6
Moldre 0 0 1 2 1 Moseley 3 5 2 2 8
Ernest 7 15 1 2 16 Nelson 0 0 0 0 0
Guerrette 3 4 0 0 6 Mitchell 1 1 0 0 2
Verde 5 10 4 6 14
Werner 0 1 0 0 0
Totals 22 59 18 22 64 Totals 34 66 11 15 86
Maine 28 64
Home 42 86
3-pt. goals: Maine (2-10): Lopez 0-1, Stone 1-3, Veilleux 0-2, Geraghty 0-2, Ernest 1-1, Guerrette 0-1; BU (7-13): Argentieri 1-1, Terhune 1-4, Dufault 1-2, Verde 4-6