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Terrier Chantell Alford Shoots High

Women’s b-ball takes on BC in season opener

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BU women’s basketball guard Chantell Alford was last year’s America East Rookie of the Year and the Terriers’ Most Valuable Player. Photo by Steve McLaughlin

Chantell Alford arrives an hour early for a preseason practice in Case Gym, making shot after shot with two of her teammates. Suddenly, the point guard stops, spins around, and throws the ball as high as possible, then falls into a heap laughing, her teammates joining in.

Alford (CGS’11) has plenty to be happy about. She’s coming off an unexpectedly strong performance last season, leading America East rookies with 447 points, setting BU’s freshman scoring record, and finishing 14th in the nation for rookie points. Now 19, Alford was named conference Rookie of the Week six times, conference Rookie of the Year, and the team’s Most Valuable Player.

“I am honored, honestly,” Alford says. “I wasn’t expecting it. I just got out there and played, and had a great season. I don’t let it get to my head too much, because you never know what will happen next.”

Alford was recruited by only one Division I team—Boston University. Growing up in West Haven, Conn., she was surrounded by other excellent female basketball players. The nation’s number-one ranked women’s basketball team—the University of Connecticut—is nearby and has been the impetus for a lot of young women to enter the sport. “I came out of a very competitive graduating class in Connecticut,” says Alford, “and there were a lot of talented basketball players.”

Head coach Kelly Greenberg acknowledges that she took a risk on Alford. “We first saw her at an AAU tournament in Florida, and liked what we saw. We watched her at another tournament in DC, and that affirmed our interest. She wasn’t dominant on the court, but she played a good game.”

A visit to BU cemented the interest on both sides. “I liked the way the coaches and players interacted,” Alford recalls.

“My coaching staff and I also were trying to go more local,” says Greenberg. “It’s funny, because many may not consider Connecticut local, but we do, and that played into our taking a risk on Chantell.”

Staying close to home is important to Alford, who comes from a tight-knit family. Her mother attends as many home games as possible. “My mom has supported me all the way through since my very first team, and for that I’m grateful,” Alford says.

“In individual workouts last September, when we first got her in, we knew she was special,” Greenberg recalls, “and her abilities only grew. She has a very nice demeanor on the court. She’s a nice and steady player.”

Alford, Greenberg, and the rest of the team have ambitious plans for the new season, which begins today when they face off against Comm Ave rival Boston College. Their goal is to win the America East regular season title and the conference tournament, which would make them the host of the championship game and give them the home advantage.

“We don’t get BC women’s basketball to come to Case often—I don’t even know when was the last time our program hosted them,” says Greenberg. “They’re a bigger team and in a different conference, and it’ll be a good test for us. Plus, it’s BU–BC—always a good game in any sport when that’s the matchup.”

Alford hopes to see the bleachers packed with fans this season and predicts they won’t be disappointed. “We play a fun, fast-paced game,” she says, “and we have something to prove.”

The Terrier women’s basketball team hosts Boston College at Case Gymnasium on Friday, November 12, at 5 p.m. Tickets are $5 for faculty, staff, and students without a Sports Pass, no charge for students with a Sports Pass, and $7 for the general public. More information is available here.

Kat Hasenauer Cornetta can be reached at katcorn@bu.edu.

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