March 2, 2012
WEST HARTFORD, Conn. - The top-seeded Boston University women's basketball team advanced to the semifinals of the America East Tournament with a 52-43 victory over No. 8 Maine in the tournament's quarterfinals on Friday afternoon in West Hartford, Conn.
Junior Chantell Alford, the 2012 America East Player of the Year, led BU (23-7, 15-1 AE) with 18 points. She matched her season high, going 8-of-8 from the foul line. Classmate Mo Moran added 12 points and three rebounds for the Terriers while senior Alex Young posted 11 points. Sophomore forward Rashidat Agboola led the team with 11 rebounds and chipped in four points and three blocks.
Both teams got off to a slow start with Maine scoring the first field goal of the game just over three minutes in. After a pair of free throws from Alford, Young connected on the Terriers' first basket of the game at the 15:47 mark to put BU ahead by two. Alford extended the lead with two more free throws and Young completed a three-point-play to put the Terriers on top 9-2.
Maine notched a pair of free throw to interrupt BU's run but went over seven minutes without a field goal before Rebecca Knight hit a layup at 9:35. The Black Bears followed with a 3-pointer from Brittany Williams to cut BU's lead to 11-9. Two free throws from Agboola and a trey from Moran extended the margin to six points, 16-10, with 6:40 to play in the first.
The teams traded baskets on the ensuing possessions before senior Caroline Stewart hit a layup and Alford sank a three to give BU the largest lead of the half, 23-14, with 4:04 to play. Courtney Anderson's layup for the Black Bears at 2:26 would be the final points of the half as BU took a 23-16 lead into the break.
Moran and Alford opened up the second half with back-to-back 3-pointers while the Black Bears connected on consecutive jumpers to maintain the seven point difference. After the teams traded baskets, Maine used a 9-1 run to tie the game at 33-33 with 12:31 to play. A pair of free throw shots from Moran broke the tie but Maine came close to knotting it again with Williams going 1-of-2 from the charity stripe.
BU attempted to pull away from the Black Bears but Maine kept it within a possession until the 5:30 mark when Yung drained a 3-pointer. The guard followed with BU's next two points, as she connected on two shots from the charity stripe to give the Terriers a 46-39 lead with 4:57 showing on the clock. Maine brought its deficit down to five, 46-41, after a jumper from Danielle Walczak at 3:18, but it would be the last field goal of the game for the Black Bears. BU outscored Maine, 6-2, in the final minutes to claim the 52-43 victory.
The Terriers ended the game with their second-lowest field goal percentage of the season, connecting on just 26.5 percent (13-of-49) of its opportunities. Maine outshot BU, going 31.5 percent (17-of-54) from the floor but BU held the advantage at the foul line. The Terriers connected on 21-of-25 shots from the charity stripe (84.0 percent) while the Black Bears managed a 53.8 percent (7-of-13) clip.
Maine also held the advantage on the boards, outrebounding BU, 42-35.
BU (23-7, 15-1 AE) will make its 17th semifinals appearance on Sunday, March 4, when the Terriers will take on the winner of No. 4 UNH vs. No. 5 UMBC. The Terriers are 11-5 all-time in the semifinal round and have advanced to that stage in the tournament the last four years. Sunday's game time is set for 11:04 a.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN3.