Previewing 2017-18 Women’s Basketball: Syracuse

Boston College women’s basketball

On Sunday afternoon, Boston College women’s basketball (6-14, 1-6 Atlantic Coast) will play host to Syracuse (15-5, 3-4) in Conte Forum, where the Eagles have won five of their six games this season and claimed their one and only conference victory over North Carolina back on Jan. 5. Struggling all year in ACC play, specifically on the road—they’ve gone 0-4—BC finds itself coming off its fifth-straight loss Thursday night to No. 18 Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Eagles are looking for a home win against Syracuse on Sunday to carry some momentum through the rest of conference slate before they travel to the Carrier Dome, where the Orange is 10-0, to wrap up the regular season in late February.

Who is BC playing?
Syracuse University

When is BC playing?
Sunday, Jan. 28, 1 p.m.

Where is BC playing?
Conte Forum, Chestnut Hill, Mass.

How to Watch:
The game will be aired on ACC Network Extra and livestreamed on WatchESPN.

By the Numbers:

BC:

1)   In the Eagles’ last meeting against the Orange in the 2016-17, Georgia Pineau, a freshman at the time, led BC in scoring with 14 points.

2)   BC has averaged 59.4 points per game, while allowing an average of 66.9 this season, posting a scoring margin of -7.5. But the Eagles’ 3-point percentage of 33.1 has been better than their opponents throughout the season.

3)   The Eagles have lost all seven of their matchups against Syracuse since the Orange joined the ACC in the 2013-14 season.

Syracuse:

1)   Amaya Finklea-Guity was recently named ACC rookie of the week and has had seven double-digit scoring games thus far.

2)   Syracuse has struggled on the road this season with a 1-4 away record—the one win coming against UNLV before conference play began.

3)   Sophomore Tiana Mangakahia of Syracuse has 203 assists in 20 games this season—BC’s assist leader Andie Anastos has 57 assists in 17 games. The sophomore’s 10.2 assists per game leads all of the ACC and NCAA.

Last Meeting:

The last meeting was a similar scenario, as the Eagles hosted the Orange in an early Sunday afternoon matchup on Feb. 5, 2017. At the time, Syracuse was ranked No. 24 and overpowered BC in the first quarter to take a commanding lead that would last all four quarters. The Eagles only shot 34 percent from the field, falling, 72-45.

BC Wins If…

It can consistently compete under the basket. In the last meeting against the Orange on the Eagles’ home court, BC was outrebounded, 44-26, allowing Syracuse to get off to a hot start. The Eagles will turn to Pineau and Emma Guy to come up with key rebounds to give the Eagles a shot in the second half. Strong inside play from those two sophomores, in addition to timely 3-pointers from their guards, could allow BC to string together a few big runs. Plain and simple, the Eagles need to play a tough, physical game, especially down low, in order to give themselves a chance on Sunday.

BC Loses if…

It can’t hit key perimeter shots early. The Eagles often rely on freshman Milan Bolden-Morris and sophomore Taylor Ortlepp to knock down 3-pointers. If they have trouble finding their mark in the first two quarters of play, BC could dig itself a hole too big to crawl out of by the time the second half rolls around. Should the Eagles find themselves with a lead in the first half, they’ll need to continue to make shots to fend off Syracuse, which in its last away game against Miami overcame a 16-point first-half deficit to make the game competitive in the latter portion of play. “Get ahead and stay ahead” should be the Eagles’ motto.

Featured Image by Keith Carroll / Heights Editor