April 29, 2008

BU Women's Basketball 2007-2008: A Season In Review

Coming into the 2007-2008 school year I can tell you I did not expect to go to many women's basketball games. I dedicated myself to hockey and men's basketball and gave myself the night off when the women played last year - I really didn't see that changing this past year.

I was wrong.

For the entire first semester I saw 20 minutes of women's basketball. That 20 minutes was the second half of the one Agganis game they had against Ohio State. It was a loss, at that time I didn't care, couldn't name more than three players on the team, and just brushed it off.

Soon after that game I realized that the women's team had more wins than the men's team did. They also had less loses. I figured I should show support for a team that was playing much better ball.

The first game I was able to attend was the first game of conference play against the conference front runner Hartford Hawks.

BU entered AEC play 7-6 and came off an enduring road trip in Virgina and then Kansas.

The night before the Hartford game (this was during winter break) I ran into Christine Kinneary and Cheri Rafo in the laundry room of my apartment complex. I had been in a Spanish class wit Christine so I kind of knew her. I told her that Jesus and I were coming to their game tomorrow and she couldn't have looked more excited. She was pumped we would be there, and as she proved to me this season, having us there supporting them, made her/them play out of this world.

The BU-Hartford women's basketball game at Case Gym on January 5th is the only game I have ever stormed the floor for. I had good reason to:

BU was down a lot, came back, took a lead, lost it, took it back, lost it, then made a F*CKING BUZZER BEATER. If there is anyway to win fans, that is it, because after that game I was hooked. I wasn't about to miss another.

BU traveled to Binghamton a week later and lost their first AEC game by four. This made me notice something interesting in BU's 8-7 record. 4-0 at Case. 4-7 at all other venues. The Terriers were proving dominant at the Roof early in the season.

And they displayed that dominance a week after the Binghamton loss against the Stony Brook Seawolved. 89-40 was the final score. For a while it looked like BU was about to drop 100 and it looked like Jessyka Burks-Wiley was going to score more than the Seawolves. Not only was it a great day on the court, but in the stands there was absolute magic - a boy became a man - flute guy was born. It was that day, January 19th, 2008 flute guy emerged, high on top of the perch at the roof, playing his flute, taking pictures, eye f*cking the sh*t out of women, and just owning all. God, what a day.

The Terriers road woes continued at Orono, Maine (where they consistently draw around 2,000 people for women's games.) An 82-77 loss to a team BU really should have beaten hurt and just showed where the team was most vulnerable - away from the roof.

On the 26th of January Jesus and I joined the team at their road game at UNH. We won the trip during the Hartford game in a timeout shooting contest - Jesus vs. me. The winner got two tickets to the UNH away game and got to travel on the bus. Basically, they were paying for us to go to their road game. And they needed us. We hadn't seen them lose and they hadn't won away from home in four games.

They needed us. In usual Terrier women's fashion BU won with seconds left on the clock on an Aly Hinton near buzzer beater put back.

The Lady Terriers stole that game. They played down to UNH's level and weren't the same Terrier team that played at Case. Nonetheless, they won and that's really all that mattered.

Once Jesus and i were back on the bus we got fist pounds from the entire team as they piled on. Everyone was happy and the entire team was grateful that we got to share that victory with them.

The team returned to the roof and dominated again, this time against reigning AEC champs UMBC. 72-62 final - never really that close. Well, if you count being down 19 at in the first close I guess. BU came out in the second half and completely dominated . When there is a 29 point turn around, I guess it is domination.

Three days later BU won their 7th straight at Case Gymnasium. Despite league MVP Courtnay Pilypaitis putting up a career high 40 points the Terriers won by 10. Again. This game wasn't close at all. BU jumped ahead, got an 18-point lead, and never looked back. Cheri Raffo scored a career high 27 (overshadowed by Pilypaitis' 40).

Next on the schedule - 2 road games/losses. One against Albany at 12 pm on a Wednesday. I didn't even comprehend why a game would be played at that time on a weekday. It makes absolutely no sense to me. Obviously, BU didn't like it either as they got torched 76-50. Oh and Chirstine Kinneary - only a single point.

No buzzer beater could help BU at Hartford three days later. BU kept it close against the conference favorites but still lost by 7. Kinneary had been assiting everybody for most of the season. But this game, she emerged as a scorer. Kinneary led all Terriers with 20. BU was 12-10 and done with their season series against conference best Hartford. BU looked like they could take anywhere from the 2-5 seed with seven games remaining.

BU returned home for back to back wins against Binghamton and Maine. Again, neither game was close. BU made a habit of going down early then coming back. Against fake BU, real BU, down by as many as 11 for most of the half, took a 2 point half time lead after 2 minute 12-3 run. After that there was no looking back. And again, Christine Kinneary scored a Terrier high 23.

At home, Maine was no problem. Everyone got in the action as BU owned all 40 minutes, finishing with a final tally - 77-56.

14-10 was looking good with 5 remaining. Jesus and I hadn't been at a game where BU lost. Unfortunately, there was only one game remaining that both Jesus and I could be at. All the rest the Terriers would have to do it themselves.

On the road, BU lost. These two things were starting to go hand-in-hand and made me nervous for the upcoming conference tournament (which wouldn't be at the Roof). Vermont dropped Boston 65-56. Coach Greenberg needed to find an answer for the road. And that answer couldn't include Jesus/my attendance.

The final home game that Jesus and I could attend was against UNH. Cheri Rafo was honored before the game for scoring 1,000 points in the game against Albany. And then the Terriers dominated again. AGAIN I tell ya. 66-39 was the final - BU hadn't lost when Jesus/I were there, hadn't lost at home, and hadn't disappointed me at any point in the season.

BU had to do the final three games on their own - 1 game in Stony Brook, 1 in UMBC and the final at home against Albany (during spring break/Men's AEC Conference Tournament). 3 W's. First in Stony Brook - Cheri, Chrstine, and Kasey Devine all got into the action with double digits. The Terriers defense held SBU to 58 and that was good enough with BU's 70.

The next victim - UMBC. The Retrievers felt the wrath of the 3-ball as BU dropped 16 trays on them. DAMN. It was a program high and 5 Terriers scored in double digits. That's a GG right there. (good game)

In the season finale at Case only 276 people were in attendance. It didn't help that it was spring break and that Jesus and I were in Vestal, NY for the men's tournament. Regardless, BU got it done in overtime 76-67. Again, BU had 5 players in double figures. Things looked good heading into the conference tournament. BU secured a #3 seed and a solid 18-11/11-5(AEC) record. This was better than the men.

BU's conference tournament started with UMBC. They made a statement against the old AEC champs - 88-59. That is a large playoff margin, pretty much a huge slap in the face to UMBC. I'm laughing just thinking about this margin right now. Yeah, Coach Kelly Greenberg, yeah. 4 Terriers in double figures in this one with Kasey Devin scoring a career high 26, when it mattered the most.

The next night the Lady Terriers made me physically and emotionally exhausted - and i didn't play a minute of it. I was at the UML-BU hockey game (a disappointing loss) and caught the last five minutes of regulation on a Agganis luxury box TV. Once regulation ended in a tie I sprinted to my friends place about 4 blocks from HAA. We caught the first and second overtime and all I really wanted to do once it was over was curl up in the fettle position and sleep.

It was an ugly game - 42% from the field. Christine Kinneary was shut down with only 5 points and 2 assists. 24 team fouls a piece. But there is an old saying - a win's a win. And that was certainly correct. BU held on to win 76-74 and was going to the 'ship.

And they were going in as HEAVY underdogs against the host Hartford Hawks. I couldn't miss that. I sacrificed what could've been the last hockey game for what could've been (and was) the last women's basketball game. I'd have it no other way.

BU got flat out, outplayed by the Hawks. They were the better team the entire year and they certainly were the better team in the Championship game. 61-45 was the final tally and from about the 7 minute mark on everyone in the arena kind of knew that Hartford was heading on. It was hard to watch the seniors cry as their college careers ended. It was over, the dream, the season, gone. They had a great season but didn't have anything other than 20 wins to show for it. BU wouldn't be heading to the NIT because the second place team in the conference enjoys that invitation - that was Vermont.

Hartford went on to win their first round NIT matchup over Syracuse and then lost against Texas A&M. Vermont beat Dartmouth in their first round NIT game, only to lose to BC. BU watched all of this from home.

In retrospect, I'm very glad I got into women's basketball. This season was rewarding because the team seemed to play better when I was there. Furthermore, this is the nicest team on campus, you can't tell me otherwise. They were genuine about how grateful they were that Jesus and I went to all their games. And I loved it. I loved seeing victory after victory and only expect to see similar results next season. I have to say, if the team can fix that road-game problem, things will be looking DAMN good in 08/09. Thank you ladies for a wonderful season.

No comments: