Blue In The Face: Duke Falls To Eagles In Thrilling Upset

Boston College upset No. 15 Duke at Conte Forum Thursday night, 60-56.

This was the 15th meeting between BC women’s basketball (9-10, 1-5 ACC) and Duke (13-6, 4-2 ACC), with the Blue Devils winning their last five encounters.

The Eagles came into the game looking to bounce back from a five-game losing streak—all of which have been against conference opponents. Duke, on the other hand, was coming off a 68-53 win against Miami.

Duke controlled the ball from tip off and Rebecca Greenwell hit a 3-pointer in the first 30 seconds of play, which catalyzed the first nine points for the Blue Devils, which initially went unanswered by the Eagles.

Kelly Hughes then caught the ball on a rebound and went on to successfully shoot a 3-pointer, putting the Eagles on the board. Soon after, Nicole Boudreau made a left corner 3-pointer, drawing a timeout from Duke. The Eagles continued to press the Blue Devils, extending to full court pressure and forcing a turnover. Boudreau quickly posted up another three points, tying the score at nine.

Hughes continued to dominate at the 3-point line, with four successful shots in the first half. The Eagles returned to the locker room leading 35-30.

In the second half, BC appeared eager for an upset, aiming to break a pattern of losses to Duke dating back to 2010. Duke, being the top rebounding team in the ACC, was expected to overpower the Eagles under the basket, but BC stepped up on a multitude of occasions, aggressively going for rebounds Thursday night.

The Eagles’ momentum did partly slip early in the second half, however, as Greenwell knocked down a 3-pointer to knot the game up at 35. BC attempted to respond, but Duke stayed hot with Elizabeth Williams earning a trip to the free throw line—the senior knocked down both free throws to give Duke its first advantage since early in the game. Ka’lia Johnson then extended Duke’s lead with a field goal, giving the Blue Devils a 43-40 advantage.

BC soon regained its control of the game, thanks to a jumper by Marti Mosetti and a 3-pointer by Hughes on the two ensuing possessions. This put the Eagles back on top, 45-43, midway through the half. BC did not relinquish this lead for the remainder of the game.

The face-off grew messier as the clock wound down, but Emilee Daley managed to cement BC’s lead, landing a 3-pointer with only a minute remaining.

With four to give, Duke coach Joanne McCallie continually signaled for her players to foul in a desperate effort to stop the clock. The final dagger came with 1.5 seconds left. From the foul line, Hughes notched BC’s victory after knocking down both of her free throws.

The Eagles can attribute this monumental win to a few stars who looked particularly good from behind the arc. Three players surpassed double digits on Thursday: Boudreau (18), Daley (17), and Hughes (11).

Freshman center Katie Quandt was a key player in the second half of play. She stepped up her game and showed great strength throughout, hitting the shots when necessary, and blocking Duke’s shots at every turn.

“Someone needed to step up so I got myself open,” Daley said. “They got me the ball and it all worked out. A win like this gives us confidence [and] lets us know that we can compete with Duke and other teams in the ACC.”

Duke had not lost to an unranked team all season, leaving the Blue Devils searching for answers as they left Chestnut Hill to prepare for a matchup against longtime rival North Carolina on Sunday. For the Eagles, however, this win—BC’s first in the conference this season—provides a spark that could perhaps lead them to the ACC tournament, if only they can keep up the heat that roasted the Devils Thursday.

Featured Image by Arthur Bailin / Heights Editor