Eagles Struggle in Second Half Against Wolfpack, Drop Eighth Straight

Boston College women’s basketball

Boston College women’s basketball was already on a downward spiral before taking on one of the toughest defenses in the conference in North Carolina State—and things went as well as expected. The Wolfpack (19-5, 8-3 Atlantic Coast), known for its height and rebounding ability, completely overpowered the Eagles (6-17, 1-9) on Sunday afternoon.

Not the biggest team to begin with, BC was limited even further by an injury to forward Emma Guy, and by the end of the onslaught, they were dealt an eighth-consecutive loss by a final score of 72-54.

N.C. State’s size was the biggest difference in the game, especially in the second half where they had a plus-11 advantage on the boards. This allowed them to pull away emphatically, outscoring the Eagles, 47-29, after the break.

Wolfpack forward Kiara Leslie finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds, her third double-double on the season, while Akela Maize, stuffed the stat sheet with 16 points, five rebounds, and four assists. BC’s Taylor Ortlepp and Georgia Pineau each put in valiant efforts, with 18 and 21 points respectively, but even that kind of output was not enough to overcome the size and strength of N.C. State.

The first quarter started off slowly, with both teams struggling to score initially, but the game eventually got going. The Eagles and Wolfpack brought very different approaches to their offensive game plans: N.C. State looked to use its size inside, while BC wanted to stay on the perimeter and fire from 3-point range.

The Wolfpack was very successful in the paint in the first quarter, scoring 12 points inside. The Eagles, meanwhile, struggled to connect from anywhere on the floor, especially behind the arc—they converted just two of their nine 3-point attempts. Ortlepp hit both of them, leading all scorers with six points in the quarter. Still, BC trailed by seven at the first intermission.

The second quarter got off to a fiery start, when Eagles head coach Erik Johnson received a technical foul for yelling at a referee after a foul was not called in his favor. He had to be held back by assistant coaches and was visibly upset.

This exchange seemed to fire up BC, as the Eagles went on a 8-1 run after the incident—including a third 3-pointer from Ortlepp. Her shooting, along with an array of N.C. State fouls, allowed BC to make a comeback, eventually taking the lead for a period of time. N.C. State’s defense responded, and both teams went cold toward the end of the half. Neither team shot the ball particularly well, with both sides making less than a third of their attempts.

The early run by the Eagles was enough to pull the game back within their reach, and the half ended in a deadlock at 25 apiece. Ortlepp starred for BC, and led all scorers in the first half with 14 points, including shooting 3-for-6 from 3-point land.

The second half featured lots of of back-and-forth play early on, but, in due time, the Wolfpack strung together a pair of lengthy runs. They went on a 9-0 run with about six minutes left to play, then added a separate 8-0 stretch just two minutes later. BC simply could not stop anything N.C. State threw at it, as the Wolfpack scored from inside, outside, and mid-range.

Leslie continued to lead the way for N.C. State, who extended their lead to 15 after three—the Eagles were outscored 29-14 in the quarter.

The fourth quarter was relatively uneventful, as BC continued to be outplayed, but N.C. State had its own shooting blunders too. There was a period of about three minutes in the quarter where neither team made a field goal. The Wolfpack coasted down the stretch, though, eventually winning by 18.

A big struggle as of late for the Eagles has been the lack of depth of scoring. During the losing streak, all of the scoring has seemed to come from one or two players, and there has been little output from role players. On Sunday, Pineau and Ortlepp accounted for over half of the team’s total points, which is problematic in any game. This will need to change quickly if BC wants to get back on track after an eight-game slide and start putting up numbers in the wins column.

Featured Photo by Celine Lim / Heights Staff