Irving has taken Boston basketball by storm.

No, not that Irving.

Nia Irving, once of Lawrence High School, has elevated her game at Boston University this season. The sophomore has risen to earning a bigger role, and is averaging double-digit points per game.

Playing in front of a hometown following just a few hours from home always helps.

“It’s great, my family and friends come to every game,” she said. “It’s nice to always have support here.”

As the BU program has continued to improve, Irving has had a hand in it. She’s gotten more minutes as this year has gone on, and she’s steadily seen her numbers rise — along with wins in the W column.

She scored 16 and then 19 points in back-to-back games to close out November and open up December. In a tough 80-52 loss at home to Marist on Saturday, she still was able to contribute nine points and seven rebounds.

Heading into the new year, a big goal for Irving is improving on the defensive end of the court. The Terriers have allowed the third most points per game in the conference, and Irving has the ability to make a difference on that side.

“I’m trying to work on my defense,” she said. “On the offensive end I’m just working on finishing off contact better. It’s something I’m still working on. Playing against girls who are bigger than me every night is more of a challenge compared to what I’m use to.”

Irving also grew up playing AAU with the Maine Mainiacs, and she credits that program, with other AAU teams in New England, for a surge of girls and women succeeding at the sport in the region.

“A lot of the growth is owed to AAU and playing more seasons,” she said. “It boils down to that and the commitment that it takes and people doing it.”

Irving was one of the most successful basketball players in the state over the course of her high school career. She finished with a total of 1,754 points and 1,206 rebounds and was a three-time all-state selection, a three-time Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A Player of the Year, along with winning the Miss Maine Basketball award after her senior season, where she led Lawrence to a state title.

The 6-foot-1 center was also awarded a spot on the Patriot League all-rookie team last season, but she knows she still has a lot she can continue to work on.

“The biggest adjustment was the pace on the court,” she sad. “It’s nothing like high school ball. You really have to adapt to that.”

The goal for the Terriers is to get to a Patriot League championship. While it’s taken years of rebuilding to get to a point to contend, Irving is playing well at the right time. That all begins for Irving with working on improving her own game.

“I want to develop more game, more all-around,” she said. “Keep being a threat on the offensive end but also being a threat on the defensive end.”

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