For most of the season, Boston College women’s basketball has proven to be a very strong first-quarter team. Throughout their non-conference schedule, the Eagles have gotten off to quick starts and built up insurmountable leads over their opponents. That was on display last week against Campbell when BC used an 18-0 run in the opening 10 minutes to breeze by the Camels.
But, after returning home to Chestnut Hill from their holiday break, the Eagles found themselves in an even match with Dartmouth. The holiday hangover manifested itself as both teams combined for 18 turnovers in the first quarter alone. Despite being ranked 241st in RPI, Dartmouth had battled BC to a draw once the first frame concluded.
The Eagles were able to shake off the rust in the ensuing quarter, and on the back of a 22-0 run, BC built up a lead that it would not relinquish for the rest of the game. Powered by six different Eagles who finished with double-figures in scoring, BC raced past the Big Green to pick up a 99-68 win in its final non-conference game of the season.
Sloppy play marred the first quarter on both sides, clearly shaking off a prolonged break. While both teams shot the ball fairly well, they made many careless errors. Of the 18 turnovers committed, seven were travels. BC (11-2) forced many live ball turnovers and did a great job in converting those into points. The Big Green (6-6), however, held their own offensively, and even though BC rattled off a 10-0 run, Dartmouth responded with 7-0 run of its own to keep the game close. Anna Luce, who came into the game averaging seven points per game for the Big Green, had tallied nine by the end of the quarter, including a buzzer-beating layup.
Following what was a surprising first quarter, BC was able to answer its visitors and begin to piece together a scoring outburst. Dartmouth had a three-point lead, 30-27, but it proved to be a mirage for the Ivy League program. From this point on, the Big Green would be held scoreless for nearly seven minutes while the Eagles accumulated 22 unanswered points. This big run was ultimately an incredible team effort by BC. Georgia Pineau was a force on the glass, consistently racking up boards, dishing out assists, and putting up second-chance points en route to a double-double. Emma Guy was unstoppable in the paint, positioning herself favorably without much resistance. Taylor Ortlepp found numerous ways to score, and Sydney Lowery, characteristically, offered a spark off the bench.
While Dartmouth scored the final five points of the half, the game was already out of reach, and the Big Green’s momentum hardly carried over to the ensuing period. BC maintained its lead, as Guy continued to bully Dartmouth defenders for easy points. After piling up a career-high 25 points last Friday against Campbell, the junior came close to eclipsing that mark with 23 on Saturday. Makayla Dickens also thrived for the Eagles—the freshman guard was thrust into the starting lineup as a result of Taylor Soule dealing with a minor ankle injury. She matched her career-best in points with 19 on Saturday afternoon. Fellow freshman Marnelle Garraud also stuffed the stat sheet, earning seven assists and five steals.
In the final frame, the Eagles widened the gap. The BC starters had their way with the Big Green. With a massive lead, head coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee was able to get some of her bench players time on the court. One highlight saw freshman Lana Hollingsworth nail two 3-pointers, her first career points from deep. When all was said and done, the Eagles fell just one point shy of topping the 100 point plateau for the second time this season.
The turnovers were obviously a big issue for BC, but after a first quarter which saw the Eagles accumulate 10 turnovers, they cleaned up their play as they only coughed up the ball nine more times for the rest of the game. Meanwhile, BC forced 26 Big Green turnovers on the afternoon, and it produced 30 points off these giveaways.
With Pineau and Guy down low, BC has always been a strong rebounding team, and today was no exception. The Eagles dominated on the glass, producing a +17 differential while recording an impressive 22 offensive rebounds. Bernabei-McNamee had to be very pleased with her team’s ability to crash the boards, as well as her team’s overall defensive effort. While Luce finished with 19 points, the Eagles did a great job in containing the rest of Dartmouth’s lineup.
Isalys Quinones, the Big Green’s leading scorer, was limited to 13 points. Dartmouth’s explosive guard Annie McKenna was also shut down—she’d tallied 25 points in Big Green’s previous win against New Hampshire, but against BC, she could not replicate that success. She didn’t find her first points until the fourth quarter, at which point the game had already been decided—and even then, she only put up seven.
With its win against Dartmouth, BC concluded 2018 on a strong note. Going 11-2 in the non-conference stretch, all while notching many of these victories in convincing fashion, is a huge marker of the progress that has been achieved under Bernabei-McNamee in her first year at the helm. That success will be much harder to come by against ACC foes. Last year, BC came away with just two victories in conference play. But, with the Eagles firing on all cylinders, it’s almost certain that they will best that mark and perhaps achieve milestones that this program has not seen in many years.
Featured Image by Kobe Hurtado / Heights Staff