Virginia’s Stifling Defense Drops Eagles To Fourth Straight Loss

After coming off a tough conference defeat on Sunday—a 104-58 loss to the University of Notre Dame—the Boston College women’s basketball team (8-9, 0-4 ACC) could not come back and win in Charlottesville, as the University of Virginia Cavaliers (13-4, 3-1 ACC) came up on top on Thursday night by a final score of 68-56.

The BC and Virginia series has always been highly competitive, as the two teams have continued to trade wins the past three seasons in both the regular and postseason. Virginia has a 13-5 all-time record against BC, although the Eagles have won two of their last three encounters, including the 2014 regular season game at Conte Forum, 69-65. Virginia won the last meeting—the first round of the 2014 ACC Tournament, 74-59.

BC dominated the beginning of the first half, leading by nine points at a point, with a score of 21-13. This dominant streak was quickly diminished as the Cavaliers picked up the pace and scored three straight three-pointers in the last eight minutes of the half, allowing them to go into the second half with a 38-33 lead over the Eagles.

At first, UVA didn’t have the right flow or offensive rhythm. The Cavaliers had many missed opportunities to put points on the board—Virginia wasn’t taking shots or, if the team did, they were too rushed, resulting in missed layups. Overall, they needed to shoot with more confidence, something that they began to achieve more and more as the game progressed.

Virginia only made three of the attempted 17 shots from inside the paint, but went 10-16 from outside the paint to take the lead, 38-33 going into halftime.

A large portion of the Eagles’ scoring has come from outside the paint, where they average 8.5 three-pointers a game—the best in the ACC conference. However, they only made two of their seven attempts in the first half, with one missing the net entirely and another hitting the shot clock. Inside the paint was a different story as BC outscored UVA in the first half of the game 20-4.

UVA had 11 assists for 13 made baskets by the end of the half, whereas BC only had two assists for the same number of made baskets.

BC began to miss shots when Virginia started played harder defense on the Eagles: the Cavaliers had started the game playing too tall in defensive posture but saw improvements when they began to sit down and guard.

BC made 13-of-27 shots in the first half—with nine of those 13 shots being layups caused by some early steals and Virginia turnovers.

To start the second half, Virginia’s Faith Randolph hit a 3-pointer, inciting the Cavalier offense, A sophomore forward Sydney Umeri rebounded the ball and gave UVA its first double figure lead of the game, 48-37, with 13:36 remaining.

A layup by Kelly Hughes shortened the Virginia lead to five points, 48-43, then with 11 minutes left, but Breyana Mason responded by making a three. Hughes hit a 3-pointer with five minutes left in the game, making the score 61-54, but this was answered once again as Sarah Imovbioh put the Cavaliers’ lead back into the double figures. BC did force three UVA turnovers in the last four minutes of the ball game. BC had a number of missed opportunities but failed to ever close the point gap.

The Cavaliers can attribute their win the four players who ended the game in double figures—Faith Randolph, Mikayla Venson, Sarah Imovbion, and Breyana Mason—whereas the Eagles’ only player to score in double figures was Kelly Hughes with 14 points. Hughes led the Eagles with six rebounds, two assists, and a steal for the night.

Featured Image by Arthur Bailin / Heights Editor