With 3:38 to go in the third, Kelly Hughes did what she always does. She waited along the perimeter as Mariella Fasoula and Emma Guy created havoc inside. Her point guard, Martina Mosetti, attempted to move the ball around with the centers down low. Mosetti distracted the Boston University defenders just long enough to allow Hughes to knock down a wide-open 3-pointer.
But instead of polite claps and a tremor from the bench, Hughes got a different reaction: a raucous, standing ovation that kept going through the ensuing defensive possession. This 3-pointer wasn’t like the others—it was the 254th of her career. And it put Hughes atop the record books as Boston College women’s basketball’s career 3-point leader.
It was just three of 21 points—tied with Fasoula for the team’s lead—that Hughes knocked down in the Eagles’ 67-49 victory over their crosstown rivals. And, with a cheering section of about 25 in the crowd, it provided a special moment, not just for her personally but for the team.
“I know I’m a shooter, but someone’s got to get me the ball,” Hughes said. “I wouldn’t have been able to do it on my own.”
Of course, Monday night wasn’t just about lauding Hughes. BC (1-1) needed to get back on track after falling in the season opener to Hartford, a team it beat 62-28 last season. Early in the first, the Eagles appeared to return to Erik Johnson’s desired strategy of heavily utilizing his bigs. BC tended to work the full 30-second shot clock in the opening frame, primarily through Fasoula. The 6-foot-5 center towered over the Terriers, using her strong frame to punish them under the basket. She helped the Eagles jump out to a 20-8 lead over BU (0-2) in the first frame after scoring 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting.
Defensively, Fasoula, Guy, and Katie Quandt limited Terrier attempts by standing on the edge of the paint on both sides. That strategy clogged the lanes for BU, forcing the team to put up heavily-contested mid-range shots or low-chance layups. This caused immense frustration among the Terriers, who travelled six times in the first quarter.
The Terriers nearly pulled even in the second quarter on the back of their own 6-foot-5 center, Sophie Beaudry. She hit all four shots she took in the frame for eight points while also grabbing nine boards. The Eagles struggled to rebound in that frame, and often used whole possessions without any success.
That poor play carried over to the third quarter, a period in which BU outscored BC, 17-10, to cut the lead to five. The Terriers began heavily guarding Fasoula and Hughes, and the remainder of the lineup struggled to make up the difference. The Eagles turned the ball over several times in this period as well, which has become a cause of concern for Johnson.
“We were undisciplined a lot of times defensively, making mistakes that give them an opportunity to make a big shot,” Johnson said.
Whatever pep talk Johnson gave to his team worked in the fourth. In that frame, BC pulled away despite only six points from Fasoula and Hughes. In fact, for a majority of the period, the Eagles didn’t have Hughes. The senior took a nasty spill and hit her head on the floor. The fall was bad enough to send her immediately into concussion protocol—she didn’t return after the injury.
So instead, Johnson had the offense run through Guy, Ella Awobajo, and Georgia Pineau to pull ahead. The Eagles scored 21 points to comfortably take the lead for good. Yet the head coach still sees a lot of room for improvement, especially with conference play around the corner.
“We’re still nowhere near where we need to be to win games at the highest level, but we did make a step forward from where we were a few days ago,” Johnson said.
Yet with the lead in hand, the night again became about Hughes. The senior is looking to take Monday’s momentum into BC’s next game on the road at Seton Hall. There, the Point Pleasant, N.J., native is expecting over 100 friends and family members, as she continues a successful end to a stellar career.
But both her and Johnson are happy to get the inevitable out of the way. Hughes entered the season only 10 three-pointers behind last year’s captain, Nicole Boudreau, who set the record in her final game last year. And even though it came at the expense of a close friend, both her and Johnson knew it was inevitable.
“Nicole Boudreau broke it in the last game of her career last year,” Johnson said. “It didn’t take long for Kelly to take that back. But we knew that was going to happen.”
Featured Image by Amelie Trieu / Heights Editor