Eagles Squander Halftime Lead in Loss to Wake Forest

BC women's basketball

One jab. One quick punch was all it took for Amber Campbell to swiftly strip Stephanie Jones of the ball. It happened so fast, Jones’ hand kept repeating the dribbling motion even after the ball was gone. Jones looked down and realized something was not right. She quickly pivoted and chased down Campbell, but it was too late. Campbell easily tossed up the layup, allowing Wake Forest to capitalize on yet another Boston College turnover. In a mistake-filled matchup, the Eagles (13-6, 1-5 Atlantic Coast) handed the Demon Deacons (11-9, 2-5) a 65-59 victory.

In the opening quarter, it was typical BC basketball. The defense slipped up, allowing its opponents to grab an early lead. The offense struggled to hold on to the ball while finding a good look at the basket. The opponent’s defense pushed up against the 3-point line, denying splash sister Kelly Hughes from making any of her signature deep treys.

The Demon Deacons successfully broke the BC defense and put up a 10-6 lead halfway through the first quarter. Luckily for the Eagles, Wake struggled to maintain possession of the ball, and easily coughed it up. Unfortunately, BC responded with plenty of turnovers of its own.

With both teams playing a game of hot potato, it remained 18-13 Wake for the first two minutes of the second quarter. When BC finally took control, it put up six unanswered points for the lead. Wake responded in order to remain neck-and-neck with the Eagles.

With three seconds left on the shot clock and seven seconds left in the quarter, Kailey Edwards dished the ball off to an open Emilee Daley. With the shot clock down to one, Daley released the ball, making a buzzer-beater 3-pointer to give BC the 28-26 lead going into the locker room.

The second half is typically when the Eagles shine in close games. They make corrections in the locker room and come back to defeat their opponent every time.  

“I feel like we’ve played this game a bunch of times already this year, we’ve just come out on top,” head coach Erik Johnson said. “Eventually, that kind of cycle is going to come back to get you.”

To open up the second half, Alexa Coulombe fouled Milan Quinn. In the pre-foul shot huddle, Deacon Kandice Ball loudly questioned, “Are we playing zone or man-to-man?” With confusion evident on the Wake side, the Eagles had an opportunity to break away. Boudreau and Hughes had been held to three points each in the first half.

Most teams usually target the two star players, but BC finds a way to spread the defense with its inside-out game. “We’re used to Kelly Hughes coming down to save us with a big deep three,” Johnson said. “You can’t just wait for the big three.”

Boudreau and Hughes knew that, and they constantly penetrated the paint in order to get a look up close. A few possessions later, Boudreau laid it up with two seconds on the shot clock. She missed, but got her own rebound and brought it back around. Boudreau tossed it to Fasoula, who made the layup, giving BC a 34-32 lead. To keep the momentum going, Katie Quandt spun and nailed a jumper, causing Conte Forum to burst into a huge uproar.

But Ariel Stevenson kept Wake in the game and helped push the Demon Deacons to a 46-45 lead going into the fourth quarter. With three players in foul trouble, it seemed the Eagles would have an easy time coming back and sealing the win.

BC was down 52-51 with less than three minutes left. The Eagles had every opportunity to come away with a victory, but instead decided to hand it to the Demon Deacons.

With the help of all-star free-throw shooter Elisa Penna, Wake won the game from the charity stripe by going 20-of-23. Penna went 12-of-12 from the line, with eight of those coming in the fourth quarter. The Eagles were unhappy about this. “We made undisciplined fouls. We bailed them out of situations where they were taking a tough shot,” Johnson said.

With 15.9 seconds left, BC was down by six. Daley missed her 3-pointer, but Boudreau was right at the rim and one-timed the rebound in. The Eagles were down by four with 4.1 seconds left. Penna was fouled off the inbound and drained both free throws to finish with 22 points and lead her team to a 65-59 victory on the road.

The Eagles were disappointed with the play against a beatable ACC opponent.

“We shot 50 percent from the field, and they shot 38 percent and we lost,” Johnson said. “That should not happen. We are an efficient basketball team, we’re a skilled basketball team.”

The team had all the tools necessary to win, but BC did not play its best basketball tonight. “When we had our opportunities, we weren’t able to come up with something,” Johnson said. “Our team has got to get better, there’s no question.”

Featured Image by Amelie Trieu / Heights Editor