There are but three unassailable certainties in this world: You will die. You will pay taxes before you die. And any assemblage of basketball talent from Louisville, Ky., men or women, will apply suffocating defensive pressure.
That held true on Sunday at Conte Forum, where Boston College women’s basketball (14-13, 2-12 Atlantic Coast) committed 21 turnovers and managed just 14 assists in a 55-45 loss to the University of Louisville (22-6, 13-1).
After Cardinal baskets, BC point guard Martina Mosetti had to shield the ball from the swiping mitts and greedy intentions of bouncy defenders––for 94 feet.
The needle on the barometer didn’t return to normal levels, though, once she finally entered the frontcourt. Louisville routinely denied entry passes to the elbows and wings, forcing BC to extend its offense much farther from the hoop than it would have liked.
“I thought there were times where we allowed ourselves to be denied,” Eagles head coach Erik Johnson said after the game. “There’s a toughness thing, too, that just because a kid’s in my face doesn’t mean I should just stand there and say, ‘Oh, well we gotta pass it somewhere else.’”
The Cardinals appeared poised to blow the game’s lid off midway through the first quarter when they went on an 11-0 run to go up 18-7.
But, privy to Newton’s third law––for every action there is an equal reaction in the opposite direction––the Eagles ripped off 11 straight points of their own to pull even with Louisville at 18 apiece just three minutes into the second period.
After the media timeout, the Cardinals flexed their defensive muscles and, Newton and normal force be damned, held BC scoreless for the final 4:51 of the first half to build a nine-point lead heading into the break.
From there, it was virtual gridlock. The deficit oscillated between single and double digits, but the Cardinals maintained a secure advantage behind staunch defense.
The Eagles shot 35.3 percent from the floor on the afternoon, their second-worst mark in a single game this season.
“The reality is we didn’t make enough shots to win a game at this level,” Johnson said. “We got our best players some really, really good looks, and those didn’t go down. And that would have made the difference in the game.”
Frustration abound, but it was most evidently expressed by freshman center Mariella Fasoula, who was whistled for two offensive fouls in the first half and engaged referee Dan Outlaw in a running dialogue throughout much of the game. She managed to score 12 points from lobs over the top of the defense and sneaky post entries.
She has now reached double figures in scoring in 21 games this season, including 13 straight.
Joining her with double-digit points was junior guard Kelly Hughes, whose four first-half 3-pointers kept the game within arm’s reach. She only scored one basket in the second half, finishing with 14 points.
Their efforts weren’t enough, however. Neither was the team’s defensive performance––the Eagles held the Cardinals to 43.6 percent shooting from the floor, in the neighborhood of Louisville’s season average.
“As great of defense as we can play, holding Louisville under 45 points is probably asking a lot,” Johnson said. “The fact that we held them to 55 really gives us a chance. For us, it’s just being able to put a full game together on both ends.”
Featured Image by Savanna Kiefer / Heights Editor