There was 6:48 remaining on the clock. Boudreau was handed the ball. The ref blew his whistle, beginning the five-second countdown. Boudreau called out the play: “five.” Her team shuffled around. Boudreau looked around for an open teammate. Spotted. She inbounded the ball before it was fed back to her. Boudreau went up for the layup on the right. She faked and dropped it down the left post to Ella Awobajo, who one-timed it in.
The Eagles had to work together to make an offensive push offensively. But it was not the perfectly planned plays that allowed them to win. The defense stood strong to keep its opponent within reach even when the offense struggled. Boston College (2-0) women’s basketball defeated the University of Maine (1-1) 55-48 in a thrilling home opener.
Junior Kelly Hughes struck first with a 3-pointer to put the Eagles on the board. She continued to fire away and went 3-for-3 beyond the arc in the opening minutes to give her team a 9-3 lead. BC maintained a quick pace in order to get ahead early. Although the team struggled to get shots off inside the paint, the Eagles led 14-7 after one quarter.
Maine came into the second frame hot and took advantage of BC’s defense as it slowly broke down. The Black Bears, led by eight seniors, used their experience to find holes down low and connect with wide-open teammates around the arc. Maine’s offensive skills allowed them to close BC’s lead to three with a score of 16-13.
Katie Quandt and Ella Awobajo worked their way inside to give the Eagles the offensive push they needed, but the defense continued to struggle.
The team was frustrated. Coach Erik Johnson was frustrated. The bench called out to players to get back. Johnson shouted players to stick to their man-defense. But Maine still pushed through.
BC held on, giving the team a 26-24 edge coming out of halftime, but offensive woes continued into the second half. Black Bears tied it up before slowly pulling away 15 seconds into the half. With five minutes left in the quarter, Maine was up by four and the Eagles had not made a basket in three and a half minutes. Johnson knew he had to step in and called a timeout.
Coming out of the break, Mariella Fasoula wrestled through three defenders on the post to put in a layup. But the Black Bears answered back when Liz Wood drained a three. Maine had its largest lead of the game with a score of 38-31.
The Eagles did not back down. Freshman Stephanie Jones responded with a triple.
Fasoula and Boudreau both drained their foul shots to knot the game at 38 with one quarter to go. Although the offense gave BC the push it needed to get back into the game, the team attributes the success to the defense.
With pathline defense in play, the Eagles need to stick to their opponents on defense but be willing to step off to help a teammate.
“Everyone was chasing up and over screens because they knew they had someone right there behind them,” Boudreau said. “We are all committed. We have to be there for our teammates.”
The Eagles stood united and were ready to take back the lead. The teams had 10 minutes to prove themselves. Martina Mosetti nailed a jumper, giving the Eagles their first lead since halftime. And after scoring 15 unanswered points, BC was up 46-38, calling for a Maine timeout.
The Black Bears came back with a little assistance. The Eagles had not committed any fouls this entire quarter, but three shooting fouls and a 3-pointer allowed Maine to close the gap. With 40.6 seconds left in the game, BC only led 51-46.
Coming out of a timeout, Maine inbounded the ball and made a quick, wide-open layup. With 36.2 seconds left BC had the ball.
Mosetti was fouled and missed both shots, however, Alexa Coulombe snagged the rebound and quickly dished it off to Boudreau, who passed it off to Hughes. The junior was fouled on the play, and then drained both from the charity stripe, her first baskets since the opening string of threes.
Thirty-one seconds remained on the clock. BC led 53-48. With plenty of time to make a comeback, Maine had the ball. The defense was in place, but Mosetti had other plans. Sophie Weckstrom took the ball across half court, looking for an open teammate. Mosetti saw her chance and swiped the ball straight out of Weckstrom’s hands before tossing it off to Hughes.
Hughes was fouled and made both free throws, sealing BC’s opening day win with a score of 55-48.
The score does not show the struggle.
“We never really got on track offensively, but we found a couple of ways to score, we grabs a couple of o-boards and we gritted it out,” Johnson said. “We made our foul shots down the stretch and we defended.”
Johnson knows his team struggled, but he is still proud.
“To be able to win a game on grit, to win a game on toughness, is a really big step forward for our program.”
Featured Image by Drew Hoo / Heights Editor