Head coach Erik Johnson’s squad came out firing on all cylinders on Thursday night as Boston College women’s basketball hosted No. 15 North Carolina State in its annual “PlayforKay” game.
On a night sponsored by the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, which is dedicated to advancing research for all cancers affecting women, Johnson couldn’t have asked for a better first half than what he got out of his Eagles. Unfortunately, like its male counterparts, BC couldn’t hang on to a halftime lead against a ranked opponent, ultimately falling to the Wolfpack, 70-58.
But there are more than a few positives that Johnson can take away from the disappointing defeat. Starting the game on a 6-0 run, BC (9-18, 2-12 Atlantic Coast) really spread out the offense, managing to have four players score its first 10 points. The Eagles kept their foot on the gas against NC State (20-6, 10-3), managing six assists on 10 made shots to post one of their best ten minute stints of the year.
Even more impressive, BC outrebounded the Wolfpack—currently ranked fifth in the ACC in rebounding as a team—by a 13-4 margin, including four offensive boards.
An 8-0 run in the last six minutes of the first was led by Fasoula, who totaled eight points and three rebounds in the quarter. Despite a waived off buzzer-beater 3-pointer by Emilee Daley to end the period, the Eagles shot a crisp 59 percent from the field while holding the Wolfpack to a meager 17 percent, jumping out to an early 19–8 lead.
Still on top throughout the entire first half by as many as 13, the Eagles were in a prime position as they headed into the locker room with a 33-31 advantage.
But the ACC’s fourth-place Wolfpack wouldn’t be denied for long.
Shaking off its dismal 2-for-12 shooting to start the game, NC State knew the game plan for the second quarter: feed Dominique Wilson.
Led by Wilson, the Wolfpack managed a much more recognizable 50 percent from the field in the second quarter. Knocking down 7-of-8 shots from the line, Wilson scored an additional eight from the field for a game-high 16 points at the half.
But the Eagles had a few offensive weapons of their own, namely Fasoula and Taylor Ortlepp. Recording a team-high 20 points to go along with eight rebounds and five assists, Fasoula couldn’t be stopped by one-on-one defense. In a breakout night, Ortlepp dropped a game-high six assists to complement her 18 points, as the Australian guard settled more comfortably into her ACC starting role.
On its second shot of the second half, NC State took its first lead of the game, but the Eagles would punch back. After a hotly-contested third quarter that saw seven lead changes and six BC fouls, the Wolfpack entered the fourth with a six-point lead, their largest of the night—one they never relinquished.
Continuing her spectacular performance, Wilson added seven second-half points to record a game high 23 points. NC state’s shooters also came alive in the second half, with Ashley Williams and Jennifer Mathurin combining to drain some timely three balls.
NC State used stifling defense to hold the Eagles to nine points in the fourth quarter and outscored them by 14 in the second half. As BC got into foul trouble late, NC State capitalized on what turned into a startling discrepancy. With guard Miah Spencer shooting 8-for-8 from the line in the second half, the Wolfpack went a spectacular 20-for-23 from the line to put the Eagles away.
In what was ultimately a strong performance against an elite NC State team—which boasts wins against the likes of Florida State, Louisville and Duke—BC continued to struggle with turnovers, committing 21 to NC State’s 10.
But tonight revealed a glimmer of hope for a young Eagles team, both individually and as a whole.
“I was really proud of my kids, of how they fought the entire game,” Johnson said. “The future is really, really bright … [and] I really believe this group is close, that they’re starting to see the team that we want to be.”
Now BC begins a much-needed bye week in Chestnut Hill to recuperate and practice before traveling to South Bend next week to take on rival Notre Dame.
Featured Image by Celine Lim / Heights Staff