Question: How do you prepare for an opponent when you don’t know who that opponent will be?
Answer: You don’t.
At least, that’s the answer Boston University coach Kelly Greenberg came up with for her team as it prepared for the women’s America East tournament this week.
Because they won the regular-season title, the Terriers were awarded a first-round bye, which meant they wouldn’t know exactly who they would be facing until after Thursday night’s matchup between No. 8 seed Maine and No. 9 seed Stony Brook was over (Maine won).
So instead of preparing for two teams, Greenberg decided to just work on one: the Terriers.
“We’re really focusing on us, tweaking some of our offenses,” Greenberg said by phone this week. “Focusing on BU basketball.”
This week the Terriers (22-7, 15-1 AE) ran the same defensive drills they’ve been running since October, to focus on fundamentals. That doesn’t mean that Greenberg could completely resist preparing for potential opponents, however. As they ran the drills, the coaches did suggest a few possible wrinkles.
“Not only are they very coachable but they have pretty good IQs and I’m able to talk about things and not get them confused,” Greenberg said of her squad. “Having a veteran type team is a luxury going into this weekend.”
Greenberg’s team has come a long way. Two weeks ago, the Terriers’ spirits were in the dumps.
After starting the season 13-0 in conference play, BU got completely outplayed at home and lost to Albany. The team was distraught.
“People were really down, for a couple of days,” Greenberg said. “As the leader I had to beg them to let it go.”
Eventually, Greenberg’s pleas made it through and the Terriers won their last two games to clinch the regular-season title and at least a berth in the WNIT.
“It was really, really key for us just because of how we lost that game and how we were so down,” the coach said. “I was like ‘Guys, we’re still 13-1, it’s not that bad.’ It was good. To finish up with those two wins was really big.”
Now the Terriers will rely on their defense, which was second in the conference in scoring defense allowing only 53.1 points per game during the regular season, and a balanced scoring attack that includes two-time America East Player of the Year Chantell Alford to carry them through the conference tournament.
Their coach says they’re fully recovered from the letdown versus Albany, and ready to go.
“We’re certainly not going to take anything for granted,” Greenberg said. “We’re very focused.”
Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.