Previewing 2017-18 Women’s Basketball: North Carolina

Boston College women’s basketball

For the third time in head coach Erik Johnson’s tenure, Boston College women’s basketball managed just two wins in conference play. This latest campaign has been nothing short of frustrating for the Eagles (7-22, 2-14 Atlantic Coast), who finished 14th in both scoring offense (57.8 points per game) and defense (69.3). As a result, the 13th-seeded Eagles will be playing on the first day of the ACC Tournament for the sixth year in a row, taking on No. 12 North Carolina.

With a win over the Tar Heels (14-15, 4-12), BC would get a shot at No. 5 North Carolina State on Thursday afternoon.

Who is BC playing?

North Carolina

When is BC playing?

Wednesday, Feb. 28, 1 p.m.

Where is BC playing?

Greensboro Coliseum Complex, Greensboro, N.C.

How to Watch:

Tournament games are available to livestream on WatchESPN via ACC Network Extra.

By the Numbers:

BC:

1) Turnovers have been a recurring issue for the Eagles this season, even more so in conference play. BC finished last in ACC play with a -6 turnover margin per game, totaling over 18 giveaways per game.

2) Guard Taylor Ortlepp has flourished down the stretch, finishing off the regular season with a 28-point effort against Syracuse. Over her final seven games, the sophomore averaged 17.4 points per game and shot 37 percent from beyond the arc.

3) Recent history against UNC is in the Eagles favor: After dropping 12 of the first 13 meetings between the two teams, BC has taken the last two.

UNC:

1) The Tar Heels will have their hands full with a heavy perimeter shooting team in the Eagles, and it won’t help that UNC has the worst 3-point defense in the conference—allowing opponents to shoot almost 36 percent.

2) Since beating rival Duke in overtime on Jan. 21, the Tar Heels have fallen off a cliff. They’ve dropped nine straight, including a 16-point loss in the regular season finale against the Blue Devils.

3) UNC leaned heavily on a trio of players this season—Jamie Cherry, Paris Kea, and Taylor Koenen finished first, second, and third in minutes per game in the ACC.

Last Meeting:

The Eagles beat the Tar Heels for the second year in a row, riding high-scoring outings from Ortlepp, Milan Bolden-Morris, and Andie Anastos to roll to a 77-64 win at home. Ortlepp had a then career-high 23 points, hitting 5-of-7 from beyond the arc. Bolden-Morris added 18 while Anastos chipped in 13. It was an unexpected offensive output from BC, who entered having lost seven of nine and had broken the 60-point barrier just once over the same span.

BC wins if…

It shoots well from beyond the arc and limits turnovers. The Eagles knocked off UNC at home earlier this year on the strength of lights-out shooting—the 48 percent from the field was their third-highest mark this year, while 52 percent from 3-point range was second-highest. If they can replicate that offensive performance, which was dependent on assists (17, a season-high), BC has a very good shot at advancing to the next round for the second time in three years.

BC loses if…

It goes cold from the field and turnovers sprout up. When the Eagles shoot under 30 percent from beyond the arc, they’re just 1-11 this year. When they clear their season average of 18 turnovers per game, they’re an equally paltry 1-10. UNC enters the game averaging over 73 points per game, so if it turns in a rare defensive performance where it actually closes out the 3-point line and forces turnovers, the Eagles could be headed home after just one game for the second year in a row.

Featured Image by Celine Lim / Heights Staff

Bradley Smart
About Bradley Smart 216 Articles
Bradley is the associate sports editor for The Heights. He believes that America does truly run on Dunkin, March is the best month, baseball teams should always wear stirrups, and being down 3-1, in anything, is never cause for concern. You can follow him on Twitter @bradleysmart15.