Few local basketball players impose their will on the game like Boston University’s Caitlin Weimar.
The senior center is piling up 18.3 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks per game for the Terriers (13-9, 5-6 Patriot League). Only one other player in the country — Virginia Tech’s Elizabeth Kitley — is averaging more than the 18-11-2 threshold.
Weimar’s 6-foot-4-inch frame gives her natural physical tools, but her skills on the low block and inside the paint make her unstoppable. She earned league preseason Player of the Year recognition and is on pace to back it up with the season-ending award.
The native of Cortlandt Manor, N.Y., eclipsed 1,000 points at BU in just three seasons (she transferred from Marist after her freshman year). Since the season opener against UMass Lowell, when she dropped 33 points and hit a winning buzzer-beater, she hasn’t looked back.
To understand how Weimar dominates, and the details that go into her prolific two-way play, the Globe went to the expert: Weimar herself.
Weimar broke down several moments from her Jan. 27 performance against Lafayette, in which she collected 25 points, 12 rebounds, 7 blocks, and 4 steals during BU’s 51-39 home victory.
Two of Weimar’s seven rejections were impressive displays of timing and body control. Watch her left hand mirror the opponent’s form on the first play.
Matching the correct hand with the side the opponent is shooting from is important, but as Weimar explains, she didn’t always have that skill.
“I used to only block with my right hand,” she said. “It would cause a lot of fouls and stuff being called. So I actually had to work on it a lot, making sure to shift my body over enough so that I can just block with the left hand and be completely clean.”
Weimar credits years of strength training and core work for helping her absorb contact from driving players. Keeping her hands high, as she does in the second block above, shows discipline that can help avoid fouls.
“It is actually harder than you think, just because when you’re playing defense, you want to keep your hands low,” she said. “Keeping your hands high obviously also makes it harder for the person to even look to get the shot up.”
Those finer points help Weimar win one-on-one matchups, but she also benefits from free rein anchoring the Terrier defense. BU mixes up its man-to-man and zone schemes, but regardless, Weimar typically gets to roam the paint. On these next two blocks, she’s assigned to guard Lafayette’s Kayla Drummond (No. 14) but helps to thwart drives from other players.
“They’ve given me the freedom to — if, say, somebody’s a little late or gets driven past, to step up just to try my best to contain the ball,” Weimar said.
Communication makes the difference between effectively roaming the paint and ball-watching and losing control. Weimar calls out to her teammates where opponents are driving, cutting, and screening so they can rotate and cover the gaps.
“I was never really the type of player, before I came into college, to be screaming on the court, communicating as much,” she said. “As I came into college and became more of a player like that, it’s helped me a lot to just communicate what I see and be more vocal on the court.”
The interior dominance doesn’t come just on defense. Weimar is decisive and dangerous on offense, often posting up and reposting several times in a possession to find an advantage.
Positioning is key. Weimar aims to get her inside foot higher up on the floor than her defender to establish an advantage. BU post players are coached to aim the “Boston” lettering on their jerseys toward the ball to signal they’re open for a pass. Then it’s up to Weimar to make her move quickly.
Weimar had long been a right-hand finisher only, and opponents could scout that as a weakness. She has spent years drilling left-hand counters into her game, often practicing at home with her father, Dan. Now, as shown in the first two buckets above, she makes them look effortless.
“There was a point where I was just shooting left-hand layups all the time, any time I would get in the gym,” Weimar said.
Weimar tries to keep the ball high when she receives a pass and go up quick with a shot when she can. She’s harder to defend this way and can often get to the free throw line. According to CBB Analytics, she leads the country with 7.8 personal fouls drawn per game.
Weimar routinely draws double-teams because of her scoring prowess. That has prompted significant growth as a passer. Though her 1.9 assists per game might not jump off the page, Weimar has become adept at reading the defense and finding the open player, even if it doesn’t lead to a score.
BU emphasizes half-court offense drills in practice, sending double-teams at Weimar and asking her to make the correct pass. She describes her process almost like a quarterback with first and second reads.
“If I see that [defender] coming in, the first look is Audrey [Ericksen, No. 21] with the dive,” Weimar explained, referencing the second play above. “I look first for the dive and if I see that’s covered, then I know that Soph [Beneventine, No. 40] is open.”
Weimar knows she’s at the top of every team’s scouting report. It’s a ton of pressure for one player, and it means she never has an easy assignment. But it’s also a point of pride as the senior continues to master her game.
“It is frustrating, but at the same time, you just have to remind yourself that I’ve worked this hard to be in the position,” Weimar said. “I’m good enough for teams to be able to be scouting me like that.”
Ethan Fuller can be reached at email@example.com.