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Women’s B-ball on a Tear

Third-seeded Terriers to face UMBC in AE championship

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The third-seeded Boston University women’s basketball team enters the 2008 America East championship series riding its longest winning streak of the season — four games. The Terriers take on sixth-seeded University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), on Friday, March 14, in West Hartford, Conn. The 2 p.m. game will be streamed live as an America East PackCast and produced by the Pack Network. The live streaming can be accessed at the America East Zone at americaeast.com.

The Terriers’ depth on the offensive front has been vital to their success this season. Jesyka Burks-Wiley (CGS’07, CAS’09) and Cheri Raffo (SAR’08) lead with 12.9 and 10.7 points per game, respectively, followed by four players averaging at least eight points per game. Christine Kinneary (CAS’09) has reached double figures in seven of the last eight games and is one assist away from tying the BU single-season assist record of 203.

Burks-Wiley is the team’s leading rebounder, with 6 per game, followed by Kasey Devine (CGS’06, SMG’08), with 5.4. Devine has also blocked 56 shots this season, ranking third all-time in a single season at BU, to bring her career total to 151 — second all-time.

The Terriers own a 23-20 all-time record in the America East championships and have made appearances in four of the last five title games, including an eighth-seeded Cinderella-run to the championship in 2003. Under head coach Kelly Greenberg, BU is 5-3 in postseason league play.

As a number three seed, the Terriers are 10-4 all-time and 4-1 against sixth-seeded teams. In the quarterfinals, BU has a 7-8 overall record. Last year, they were eliminated in the first round by fourth-seeded Binghamton, 63-58.

Friday’s game will mark the first postseason contest between the Terriers and the Retrievers. The number six Retrievers enter the tournament with a 9-20 overall record and 5-11 America East mark. UMBC was the underdog of the 2007 tournament, upsetting top-ranked Hartford, 48-46, in the title game.

The history between BU and UMBC is fairly new, with BU leading the all-time series 8-3, including the last three straight. The first meeting between the two schools was a 76-64 BU victory in December 1991. However, the teams did not meet again until the Retrievers joined the America East conference in 2003. The Terriers won the first two league contests before UMBC picked up its first win of the series, a 59-51 decision in January 2005.

The two teams met last on March 5, 2008, when BU hit a program-record 16 three-pointers and was led by Kinneary, with 19 points, defeating UMBC, 79-60, at the RAC Arena. Kinneary was joined in double figures by seniors Raffo and Corinne Jean (COM’08), as well as Kristi Dini (CGS’07, SAR’09) and Burks-Wiley.

The Terriers broke the school mark previously set in March 2005 vs. Stony Brook. Kinneary had a career-high four three-pointers and was a perfect six-for-six from the field, with seven assists and no turnovers, to earn America East Player of the Game honors. Raffo became the Terriers’ all-time minutes leader during the game.

BU was an impressive 16-for-24 from the arc and 30-for-63 from the field. The Terriers forced 20 Retriever miscues and scored 19 off turnovers, while posting 14 in the paint and 26 off the bench. BU also held a slight 31-30 edge in rebounding.

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