Boston College women’s basketball opened the season losing six of its first eight games. Since then, the Eagles have hit their stride, winning four straight before the final nonconference game of the season—a contest against the University of Maine. The Black Bears, meanwhile, entered the game on a losing skid, having dropped their previous two contests. With momentum in BC’s favor, the Eagles cruised to a 64-53 victory.
BC (7-6) led for the entire game, with Georgia Pineau scoring the contest’s first points with a layup in the opening minute of play. Throughout the first six minutes of the first quarter, the Eagles stifled the Black Bears (7-8) and jumped to a 10-0 lead. But sloppy play and lapses in concentration allowed Maine to claw its way back into the game.
Maine took advantage of turnovers from Kelly Hughes and Taylor Ortlepp, finding the net to chip away at the Eagles’ lead. Ortlepp missed a 3-pointer, and the Black Bears’ Blanca Millan grabbed a defensive rebound. Seconds later, on the other end of the court, Millan grabbed an offensive rebound and muscled her way back up to the rim, earning put-back points to cut BC’s lead to 10-8. The first quarter ended with BC clinging to a slim 12-10 lead.
BC really pulled away in the second quarter, outscoring the Black Bears 28-13. Pineau led the way for the Eagles, scoring five points in the quarter and grabbing four rebounds. Hughes, Mariella Fasoula, Martina Mosetti, Kailey Edwards, Emma Guy, and Emilee Daley each contributed points throughout the quarter, too, building up a comfortable 40-23 lead for BC by halftime.
Rather than settle into a comfortable playing style, the Eagles continued to work hard throughout the third quarter, cushioning their lead. Less than one minute into the half, BC outworked Maine in a sequence that saw Pineau miss a layup, BC grab an offensive board, Edwards miss a jumper, BC grab another offensive board, and Pineau finally put the ball through the net for two points. When Pineau made a free throw less than two minutes later, BC extended its lead to 20 points, gaining a 45-25 advantage over the Black Bears.
The Eagles continued to push and play aggressively, cushioning their lead throughout the third quarter. With one minute to go in the quarter, Edwards found Ortlepp around the perimeter. She kicked the ball out to her Australian teammate, who sank the 3-pointer to give BC a 58-30 lead. Maine’s Isabel Hernandez Pepe converted a couple of free throws before the end of the quarter, however, sending the teams into the final quarter of play with a 58-32 score.
Heading into the fourth quarter, the Eagles had every reason to be totally confident. They had outscored the Black Bears 46-22 over the course of the second and third quarters, and held not only a 26-point lead, but all of the game’s momentum. As a result, head coach Erik Johnson was able to get some of the younger, more inexperienced players into the game.
BC opened up the fourth quarter on a high note. Pineau found Ortlepp beyond the arc, and Ortlepp sank another trey in the opening seconds of the quarter. But after that, the team struggled to score—Ortlepp’s 3-pointer would account for half of the team’s six total points in the quarter.
For two minutes, both teams struggled to score. Turnovers and missed opportunities plagued both the Eagles and the Black Bears. Then Maine hit its groove and dominated the game for a full five minutes. With eight minutes to go in the game, the Black Bears trailed the Eagles by a score of 61-32. But Pepe, Millan, Fanny Wadling, and Julie Brosseau attacked the hoop to reduce BC’s lead, although the game never became close. Pepe and Wadling each scored four points, while Millan and Brosseau added two apiece. With 3:06 to go in the game, BC led Maine by a score of 61-44.
Stephanie Jones ended BC’s long scoring drought when she converted a pair of free throws. While Pepe, Brosseau, and Millan would each score for Maine in the game’s closing minutes, their efforts were not nearly enough to provide a real scare for the Eagles. When the final whistle blew, BC had maintained the lead for a 64-53 victory.
It may well have been a different game for the Eagles without Pineau and Ortlepp. The two Australian true freshmen were the leading scorers, with Pineau scoring 16 points and grabbing seven rebounds, while Ortlepp contributed 10 points. No other player scored in double digits, with the third-leading scorer (Fasoula) scoring only seven. Fasoula did contribute four rebounds, as did Guy.
The victory extends BC’s win streak to five games as the Eagles close out their nonconference slate. Johnson’s squad will do well to emulate the total team effort that led to victory over Maine as the Eagles approach the tougher ACC games ahead.
Featured Image by Zoe Zhao / Heights Staff