With the team’s youngest starting lineup since the 2011 season, Boston College women’s basketball took the court for the first time this season against the Hartford Hawks. The Eagles’ starting five consisted of two freshmen, two sophomores, and only one senior, but despite their inexperience, BC had great confidence coming into the game, as it lead the all-time series against Hartford, 11-1. The team had all the proper tools necessary to beat Hartford with standout sophomore Mariella Fasoula leading the way, but throughout the game, the Hawks took advantage of BC’s inexperience and exposed the Eagles’ weaknesses. In their first game of the 2016-17 season, the Eagles lost to Hartford, 65-56.
In the first quarter, the Hawks’ stingy defense caused BC to commit several turnovers, and Hartford jumped out to an early seven-point lead. With the help of great 3-point shooting of Kelly Hughes and Georgia Pineau, the Eagles cut this lead to three by the end of the quarter. The Eagles seemed to hit their stride on offense going in to the second quarter, but after four early turnovers and several missed layups, the Hawks quickly took control. Hartford went on a 17-0 run in the first five minutes of the second quarter, extending their lead to 35-13. The Eagles finished the first half somewhat strong to cut the deficit to 13, as Emma Guy and Fasoula pounded the paint for a combined 10 points in the final four minutes of the second quarter.
In the third quarter, the Eagles came out with a greater sense of urgency, improving their ball movement and setting their teammates up for open shots as they cut the lead to 10. But even so, the turnovers continued to rack up for BC due to forced passes, and the Hawks extended their lead to 18 once again. Similar to the second quarter, the Eagles once again attacked the basket with their bigs to get easy layups, and their inside-out game helped BC trim the lead to 14 going into the final quarter. Despite their improbable chance of making a comeback, the Eagles refused to let up, and in easily their best quarter of the game, the team played tremendous defense and went on a 10-2 run in seven minutes to come within six points. But their comeback attempt was too little too late, as great free throw shooting from Hartford iced the game.
The most important adjustment that BC must make is limiting its turnovers. The Eagles had 22 turnovers, which resulted in 19 points for the Hawks. It seemed as if any momentum that the Eagles had gained was killed by a careless pass. A large majority of the Eagle’s turnovers were caused by Hartford’s full court pressure, which BC struggled with throughout the entire game. For that reason, a focus of BC’s moving forward must be to improve the team’s press break. Another aspect of the game that BC needs to improve is its defensive rebounding. BC gave up 13 second chance points, and it will be vital for the team to work collectively to limit these extra opportunities.
Nonetheless, BC showed flashes of greatness throughout the game and especially in the fourth quarter, where it outscored Hartford 16-11. BC also limited Hartford to only 37 percent shooting, and its defense was consistently impressive during all four quarters.
Although it was a disappointing loss for BC considering its dominance against Hartford in recent years, the team should not panic yet. With the graduation of captains Nicole Boudreau and Alexa Coulombe last year, the team is still working on filling the leadership void.
Featured Image by Robert Franklin / AP Photo