Previewing 2017-18 Women’s Basketball: Virginia

boston college women's basketball

Last time out, Boston College women’s basketball looked like a completely different team than the one that had lost its previous three games by an average of 20 points. In what was practically a repeat of last year’s victory in Chapel Hill, N.C., the Eagles (6-9, 1-1 Atlantic Coast) shot lights out, especially from the perimeter, en route to a potential season-altering upset of North Carolina—one they’ll have to prove wasn’t a fluke when Virginia (11-6, 4-0) comes to town Thursday night. At the moment, the Cavaliers are one of the hottest teams in the conference. Having won its first four ACC games, UVA is on the brink of cracking the AP Top 25. History isn’t on BC’s side: The Eagles have come up empty in each of the last four meetings between the teams and are just 5-13 in the all-time series.

Who is BC playing?

Virginia

When is BC playing?

Tuesday, Jan. 10, 7 p.m.

Where is BC playing?

Conte Forum, Chestnut Hill, Mass.

How to watch:

The game will be broadcasted on the ACC Network and livestreamed on WatchESPN.

By the Numbers:

BC:

1) Last week’s win over UNC marked the first time that the Eagles have shot over 45 percent from the field, 50 percent from beyond the arc, and 75 percent from the charity stripe in a game this season.

2) In its six wins, BC has delivered from long range, drilling 42.3 percent of its 3-point shot attempts—9.6 ticks higher than its season average.

3) On Tuesday, Milan Bolden-Morris—the Eagles’ leading scorer—was named the ACC Rookie of the Week for the second time this season, after shooting 50 percent from the floor, knocking down four triples, and tying her career high with 18 points against the Tar Heels.

UVA:

1) For the first time since the 2011-12 season, the Cavaliers are on a seven-game winning streak. It’s been nine years since they’ve topped eight opponents in a row.

2) UVA has four players averaging double figures this season: Dominique Toussaint (11.5 points per game), J’Kyra Brown (10.2 points per game), Aliyah Huland El (10.2 points per game), and Jocelyn Willoughby (10.2 points per game).

3) The Cavaliers’ 37.5 percent mark from 3-point land is good for third in the ACC. As a collective unit, UVA’s four leading scorers are shooting 38.9 percent from deep.

Last Meeting:

Despite shooting significantly better than the Cavaliers and winning the battle on the glass last January, BC let a 50-50 game slip in the final minutes. The two ACC foes went toe-to-toe for the first three quarters of play, swapping runs here and there. Former center Mariella Fasoula led the Eagles with 20 points, establishing a presence down low. But the Cavaliers had a premier scorer of their own: Breyanna Mason. The senior guard tacked on 19 points, keeping UVA in the game until the end. With less than three minutes to go, the Cavaliers strung together an 8-0 run to take the lead and break away from BC. Before the buzzer sounded, the Eagles turned the ball over twice more, upping their game total to 22, dismantling any comeback attempt.

BC wins if…

It makes its fair share of 3-pointers and protects the ball. Relatively undersized, BC is at its best when it’s making outside shots. When Taylor Ortlepp and Bolden-Morris get going from downtown, and Georgia Pineau produces like she normally does inside, head coach Erik Johnson’s team can compete with the best of the conference—that is, if it keeps its turnovers to a minimum. The Eagles have regularly coughed up the ball upward of 16 times per game this season. They have the worst turnover margin in the ACC, and it’s not even close. In order to put an end to UVA’s winning ways, BC will have to play smart with the basketball.

BC loses if…

UVA’s balanced attack overwhelms the Eagles’ defense. When BC faced off against Virginia Tech—another team with four starters posting double-digit scoring averages—it gave up a season-high 89 points. The Hokies ran up and down the floor, shooting 50 percent from the field. Unlike the UNC game, where BC focused on limiting a scoring tandem, the Eagles will have to keep their eyes peeled for a handful of players that can put the ball on the floor at any point of the night. Considering the fact that the Cavaliers have only topped the 80-point mark once all year and have averaged just 68.4 points per contest over the past five games, it’s safe to say that UVA won’t run BC out of the building, but an evenly distributed scoring punch could very well be what the Cavaliers need to outlast the Eagles.

Featured Image by Kaitlin Meeks / Heights Editor

About Andy Backstrom 268 Articles
Andy is the sports editor of The Heights. He is from the suburbs of Philly, but has been an Arizona Cardinals enthusiast since the first grade. Every so often, he'll replay Super Bowl XLIII on Madden to exact revenge on his father's beloved Steelers. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyHeights.