“[This game had] the most disparate rebounding numbers I’ve ever seen from half to half.”
In that sentence, Boston College women’s basketball head coach Erik Johnson summed up a game that didn’t look like just one game. By the numbers: BC outrebounded Bryant 23-12 in the first half. In the second half, Bryant led 29-14. In the first half, each team had six second-chance points, while BC led in the paint 24-12. In the second half, Bryant racked up 24 second-chance points compared to five for BC, while the Bulldogs also led the battle down low, 18-12.
Of course, only one statistic matters in the end. BC kept that one firmly in its favor all game as the team picked up its third win of the year, knocking off Bryant 90-79 on Sunday.
During BC’s stretch of dominance under the rim, the story was Katie Quandt. The 6-foot-4 freshman, who came into game with 15 career points in her first three games, put up 16 points inside for the Eagles, including 10 in the first half. For a team that prides itself on its ability to shoot 3-pointers, BC only took eight in the first 20 minutes, riding Quandt and fellow center Karima Gabriel on its way to a 12-point lead at halftime.
At the beginning of the second half, things changed. Bryant came out running a full-court press, which stymied BC’s offense, forced two quick turnovers and compelled Johnson to take a timeout.
“When someone presses you that hasn’t been pressing you, you’re used to having space,” Johnson said. “We just went backwards, away from the basketball. We do a drill that’s exactly that, where we get trapped and we work on squaring up strong and being aggressive. Once we did that, we got through the trap, reversed the ball, and got wide-open threes on the back side.”
Three open threes in under three minutes, to be exact—all coming from Kelly Hughes. After a quiet first half, she exploded in the second frame, finishing with 23 points on five-of-10 shooting, five-of-eight from beyond the arc and eight-of-eight from the line. Hughes was one rebound shy of a double-double while also tagging on five assists, two blocks, and a steal.
Johnson lauded his second-year guard.
“She’s had a very good year already,” he said. “Kelly can shoot from anywhere in the building. If she has any kind of look, I want her shooting it.”
Bryant, meanwhile, relied on a trio of starters, Jenniqua Bailey, Tiersa Winder, and Breanna Rucker, to generate offense.
The three combined for 65 of the team’s 79 points, with Rucker leading all players with 25 points and 16 rebounds. BC’s bench, led by Quandt, overcame the trio’s performances to outscore Bryant’s bench, 22-5.
Although Johnson understands the challenges his team will face in the near future, he was pleased with the win. “It was a great test for us,” he said. “Will the ACC be even bigger and more athletic? Yes. But that style will be exactly what we have to face. This was a great game for us.”
Featured Image by Arthur Bailin / Heights Staff