Tag Archives: emilee daley

BC Drops Eighth Straight Game in Loss to Miami

For the second time in five days, Boston College basketball was giving the University of Miami a scare at the very end of a game—but this time, it was Erik Johnson’s squad, rather than Jim Christian’s. The women, however, did not have any more luck than the men in pulling off a successful comeback, falling to the No. 17 Hurricanes, 58-51.

The Eagles (8-14, 1-8 Atlantic Coast) got off to a slow start, scoring just 18 points in the first half. BC scored nine of its 18 points in the first five minutes of the quarter, slowing down considerably for the second half of the first quarter and the entirety of the second quarter. Only four players scored in the half, with Mariella Fasoula and Kailey Edwards combining for 13 points.

Despite the slow start, BC kept it competitive in the first quarter and part of the second, staying neck-and-neck with Miami (16-5, 5-4)—BC even led for a stretch. A Kelly Hughes 3-pointer and an Edwards jumper gave BC a 9-6 lead halfway through the first. Miami’s Adrienne Motley knocked down a pair of free throws to trim BC’s lead to one point, but the Eagles clung to that lead for more than two minutes. Keyona Hayes and Khaila Prather made one free throw apiece in the final minutes of the quarter, so that Miami led 10-9 heading into the second quarter.

The second quarter was when the Eagles fell behind. With the game tied at 14 all, Hughes fouled Laura Cornelius in the act of shooting. Cornelius made both of her free throws, giving Miami a lead that it would not relinquish again.

The Hurricanes went on a mini-run, quickly building up a 10-point lead over the Eagles. Edwards hit a jumper to reduce Miami’s lead to single digits, but the Hurricanes responded with a pair of 3-pointers, increasing the lead to 14 points heading into halftime.

In previous games, BC has struggled coming out of the locker room, often allowing teams to build up insurmountable leads in the third quarter. Against Miami, the Eagles broke this trend. Although they could not completely catch up with the Hurricanes, they fought hard and kept  the game relatively close, trimming the deficit to single digits on several occasions before Miami built it back up to 10 points. At one point, BC only trailed by six points. But at the end of the third quarter, Miami had regained a 10-point lead.

Throughout the last period of the game, BC inched closer and closer to the Hurricanes, eventually tying the game at 45 apiece with a little more than five minutes left. The teams traded baskets down the stretch, but neither could pull away for a comfortable lead. As late as 32 seconds from the end of the game, BC only trailed by three points. But, just as on Wednesday night for the men against the Hurricanes, the Eagles were not destined to complete a successful comeback victory.

Emilee Daley sent Hayes to the charity stripe with 31 seconds to go in the game, and Hayes knocked both shots down. Facing a five point deficit and half a minute remaining, Johnson called a timeout. But the play drawn up during the break was unsuccessful—Johnson wanted Hughes, his sharpshooter, with the ball in her hands, but her 3-point attempt was blocked by Motley. Hayes ended up with the ball, and Hughes quickly fouled her. Hayes missed both free throws—a gift for the Eagles, keeping the game just in reach with 17 seconds to go.

Johnson called another timeout. This time, Daley found the ball in her hands for a 3-point attempt, but her shot was off. Hayes made up for her missed free throws with a layup in the game’s final seconds, sealing the deal for Miami.

Missed free throws once again proved costly for the Eagles. BC shot 11-for-17 from the line, making only 64.7 percent of its opportunities. If the Eagles had been more accurate from the line, they could have left Coral Gables with a victory over a ranked opponent. Instead, BC returned to Chestnut Hill with its eighth-straight loss.

Featured Image by Celine Lim / Heights Staff

Turnovers Prove Costly for Eagles in Loss to Syracuse

In sports, turnovers are costly—and Boston College women’s basketball just learned that lesson the hard way.

The Eagles traveled to the Carrier Dome in upstate New York to play Syracuse University on Sunday, fresh off a loss to the University of Pittsburgh earlier in the week. And despite strong performances from Kelly Hughes, Georgia Pineau, and Emma Guy, the Eagles fell to the No. 25 Orange by a score of 79-52.

Turnovers in the first quarter prevented BC (8-8, 1-2 Atlantic Coast) from jumping out to a strong start. The first turnover occurred less than 15 seconds into the game, as Kailey Edwards lost possession of the ball. It took BC almost a minute and a half to score its first points of the game, coming in the form of a jumper from Martina Mosetti. But despite scoring efforts from Mosetti, Guy, Hughes, and Emilee Daley, the Eagles couldn’t build up a lead. Throughout the quarter, Syracuse (12-5, 3-1) forced the Eagles into 10 total turnovers and dominated play, so that the first quarter ended with Syracuse leading 21-14.

The Eagles managed to cut down on turnovers in the second quarter, but still lost possession of the ball six times. Hughes continued to lead the way for the Eagles, shooting well from behind the arc. She would finish the game 4-for-7 from 3-point range with 12 points total. While BC outscored Syracuse 17-15 in the quarter, the Orange’s lead entering the period meant that it still held a 36-31 advantage at halftime.

Syracuse opened scoring in the third quarter with a 3-pointer from Brittney Sykes. Taylor Ortlepp sank a trey of her own only seconds later, bringing the deficit back to five points. But the Orange dominated scoring in the third quarter, scoring 27 points to BC’s nine and pulling out of reach. Because of this, BC stared at a 63-40 deficit entering the fourth quarter.

The Orange only extended its lead in the final quarter of play. Syracuse’s Briana Day scored the first five points of the quarter for her team before Abby Grant sank a trey to increase Syracuse’s lead to 71-43 with just about eight minutes to go in the game. Although the Eagles would go on to outscore the Orange during the final eight minutes, the damage was done as the Orange secured its third-straight conference victory.

Featured Image by Amelie Trieu / Heights Editor

Eagles Dominate Boards in Win Over Central Connecticut State

Boston College women’s basketball isn’t accustomed to height advantages. The Eagles are often undersized against ACC opponents, who push them to the perimeter where they largely live and die by the 3-pointer. But on Sunday, BC made the paint its personal playground, towering over Central Connecticut State in a dominant 66-46 victory.

Mariella Fasoula and Emma Guy, who stand 6-foot-4 and 6-foot-3, respectively, established an inside presence early for the Eagles (5-6). The frontcourt duo grabbed three rebounds each in the first quarter alone, helping BC to a 16-13 lead after the opening 10 minutes. Fasoula also added three buckets, part of her team-high 14 points.

With effective team defense, the Eagles began to stifle the attack of the Blue Devils (1-9). CCSU’s 13 points in the first quarter were more than it would get in the next two quarters combined. BC’s defense fueled its offense, sparking a 7-0 run to start the second quarter. The guards complemented the gritty play of BC’s forwards down low with a shooting display from beyond the arc. Senior sharpshooter Kelly Hughes drained a triple to extend the Eagles’ lead to double digits before a pair of free throws by Andi Lydon brought the Blue Devil deficit back down to eight. BC closed the half with five straight points, bringing a 14-point lead into the locker room.

The Eagles’ momentum didn’t dissipate in the third quarter thanks to Hughes, who drilled two more 3-pointers as part of a 13-4 run to open the quarter. Emilee Daley also had the hot hand from downtown, hitting 3-of-5 attempts from beyond the arc and finishing with 11 points, five rebounds, and two assists. They would continue the lopsided pace, outscoring CCSU 24-8 in the third quarter to take a 30-point lead into the final frame.

Head coach Erik Johnson opted to rest his starters in the fourth quarter, allowing the Blue Devils to chip into BC’s insurmountable lead. It took three minutes for the Eagles to secure their first basket, but the rookie-filled lineup received some valuable playing time in the waning minutes of the contest. Freshman Shannon Ryan tallied her first collegiate point, and freshman Jasmine Taylor put up four points and four rebounds. BC finished with 22 assists on its 28 field goals, a season-best.

BC’s performance on the boards was truly impressive. Five Eagles finished with at least five rebounds, and the team outrebounded CCSU 47-24. But with the arrival of big-time programs and the conference schedule comes big-time players who will not concede the paint so easily.

Featured Image by Zoe Zhao / Heights Staff

Duke-ing it Out: Emilee Daley Looks to Make Her Last Season Memorable

Vietnam gets hot in the summer.

We’re talking heavy, humid heat, too, not just dry heat. In the Mekong Delta, a rural region located in the southern part of the country, temperatures regularly can climb above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat is stifling even as you go about your daily business. Forget trying to exercise—you might melt in the process.

But for three weeks this summer, deep in the countryside, you would have seen someone exercising dutifully. A tall, dark-haired American woman running every day. The heat affected her—of course it did—but she didn’t let it stop her. Forget the temperature. Forget the humidity. It was dedication. For the woman—Boston College women’s basketball guard Emilee Daley—it was the least she could do.

You might be asking yourself what Daley was doing in Vietnam this summer. After all, at a college full of students finding prestigious summer jobs in the likes of New York City and Washington, D.C., Vietnam jumps out at you. But what Daley was doing in Vietnam was more fulfilling than finding that sweet internship on Capitol Hill.  

Every summer, Coach for College sends American college athletes abroad to developing, rural areas of Vietnam for service. When they arrive, the athletes are paired with bilingual Vietnamese college students who assist them with translations throughout their stay. The athletes teach classes—math, biology, English, and physics—and coach sports like basketball, soccer, and volleyball. The program began in 2008 and has grown in popularity ever since—in 2014, more than 60 athletes traveled to Vietnam to serve as coaches and mentors to the youth.   

This summer, Daley was one of the athletes participating in the program. She packed her bags, got on a plane, and flew across the Pacific to teach math and basketball. And in her downtime, Daley went on runs.

Running through the dead heat sounds like torture, honestly. Ask Daley, though, and she’ll tell you it’s the least she could do. Literally. Mekong Delta is deep in the rural countryside of Vietnam, so there wasn’t exactly a Plex she could use to keep up with her workouts. And Daley had to stay in shape—she’s a college athlete, after all, so she wanted to be ready to dive back into practice when she returned to the United States.

According to Daley, though, the runs weren’t quite good enough. Sure, she may have improved her mile time, but the absence of a weight room left her considerably weaker than before.

“I had literally no muscle on my body,” she said with a chuckle.

She may have sacrificed her strength, but it was definitely worth it. For Daley, the opportunity to teach and coach in Vietnam was like nothing else. She spent hours every day with the children. In teaching the students, she got to know them in the classroom. In coaching the students, she got to know them on the court and see their determination and willpower to improve and succeed. In the span of just a few weeks, the children changed her life—and she changed theirs.

Her decision to give up her summer and serve others did not surprise anyone who knows her. Daley is a big sister with the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston and has always prioritized service, so her family was impressed but not surprised by her choice. Her mother, Sue, was especially proud of her dedication, flying halfway across the globe to serve others.

When Daley had to leave Vietnam, the goodbyes were emotional, to say the least.

“The last day we were there, they were all crying and saying, ‘We’re going to miss you so much,’” she said.

But there was no denying it—the time had come for her to leave Vietnam and return to the U.S. She left Mekong Delta behind, got on a plane, and flew back to what she considers the greatest city in the world: Boston.

***

Daley’s love for Boston isn’t all that surprising. She grew up in Sharon, Mass., a town about half an hour south. Beyond that, she had strong ties to BC while she was growing up. Her father, grandfather, and other relatives all attended BC. None of them played sports—her father was in the marching band, and that was the closest it got—but she still held a soft spot for the Eagles in her heart.

Daley grew up with an older sister, Liz, and a younger sister, Kristen. All three of the Daley sisters are talented basketball players—Liz played at Emmanuel College and Kristen plays for the University of Pennsylvania. Though they are now skilled, everyone has to start somewhere.

When Liz started playing basketball, it opened up a whole new world for Daley. She wanted to be like her older sister, so when she was in fourth grade she joined a team and began playing seriously for the first time.

From the beginning, Daley was hooked on basketball. She’d always been an athlete and loved sports, but basketball quickly became her true passion. She welcomed the challenge of learning and conquering new skills. According to her father, Kevin, she could often be found practicing drills in the backyard after practice had ended, determined to master the skills and push herself. As she improved, Daley grew to love the freedom she felt on the court. Her love showed on her face every time she stepped on the hardwood.

“[I loved] the perpetual smile on Emilee’s face while playing, regardless of the outcome,” Sue said.

Of course, it wasn’t always fun and games. Growing up in a family with two siblings who also played basketball meant that competition was an accepted part of life. While the sisters are now nothing but supportive to one another, when they were younger it was a different story.

“We could never play together one-on-one because we’d always try to kill each other,” Daley said.

Daley left middle school behind and moved on to Sharon High School. There, she played for the Sharon Eagles. It was during her second year of high school that she first got recruited by a college coach, and this experience was eye-opening for her. It was the first time that Daley really considered the possibility of playing in college.

After that year, she transferred to The Rivers School, a private school in Weston, Mass., and repeated her sophomore year. With a stronger education, smaller class sizes, and a better basketball program, The Rivers School was a perfect fit for Daley. She started her playing career there in the 2010-11 season. Over her three years playing for the Red Wings, the team went 69-8, capturing two New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) titles and finishing as the runner-up once.

In high school, Daley, who can play guard or forward, established herself as a dangerous shooting threat with deep range. As a senior, she both won the Coaches’ Award for the women’s basketball squad at The Rivers School and was named a McDonald’s All American. Her former coach, Bob Pipe, valued her contributions all over the court. He praised her ability to lead on the court, defend, and distribute the ball all over the court. Most of all, though, he praised her shooting range.

“Emilee will shoot NBA 3s without even thinking about it,” Pipe told Boston.com in 2013.

Her leadership and undeniable talent caught the attention of college coaches, but for Daley, there was ultimately only one choice. BC had always been an option in the back of her mind because of her family connections, so when the Eagles began to recruit her, she was only too happy to visit the Heights.

The fact that the Eagles play in the ACC sealed the deal. Sue said that they let Daley choose where she wanted to go without pressuring her, but that the family was overjoyed when she elected to attend BC.

An added bonus? Daley is still close to home, so she can see her family every once in a while.

Every two weeks I try to go home and do laundry,” Daley said. “And the fact that it’s close, everyone in my family can always come to my games.”

With this, Daley made her decision. She was ready to become an Eagle.

***

Lauren Engeln is a forward on the German women’s basketball team, SV Halle Lions. She is in her second year with the team, which is currently resting at No. 9 in the Bundesliga. She averages 4.9 points per game while also contributing 2.6 rebounds per game.

Back in summer 2013, Engeln was a redshirt junior at BC. She transferred over from UConn, ready to lend her skills to the Eagles for a couple of years. And her summer roommate was none other than Daley.

Daley was just three weeks out of high school, and, as she put it, still felt like a child when she arrived on campus. But her older roommate quickly made her feel welcome and settled at BC.

“Lauren Engeln and Vic Lesko … kind of took me under their wing,” Daley said. “They are just great people, and they were my first two friends.”

Even with friends and mentors on the team, Daley says the adjustment to playing at the collegiate level was still challenging. She went from being one of the best players on her high school team to being just another young player at BC.

Even so, she still saw playing time during her freshman season. Daley played in 19 games as a freshman, averaging just over 11 minutes per game. She scored 80 points on the year, including 18 made 3-pointers for 54 points.

As a sophomore, Daley began to pick up steam. She played in 30 games, starting 17, and accumulated 262 points over the course of the season. She also continued to show off her shooting range, sinking 49 3-pointers over the course of the season. The best moment of her sophomore season came in January when the Eagles went up against then-No. 13 Duke.

Daley showed up ready to play and totaled 17 points in the game. The Eagles defeated the Blue Devils 60-56, largely boosted by Daley’s late-game heroics. With roughly 2:40 remaining in the game, Duke led BC by five points. Daley scored three straight 3-pointers within one minute to erase the Blue Devils’ lead and secure the victory for the Eagles.

Her family, which tries to send at least one member to every game—both home and away—remember the Duke matchup fondly. It was an explosive performance from Daley, who demonstrated that she had the clutch gene, the ability to use her lethal range to erase deficits and win games for the Eagles.

Even with her early success, Daley feels like she could have been even better as a young member of the team.

I wish I worked harder, but it was a really good eye-opening experience,” she said.

As a junior, Daley saw her numbers dip a little bit. She played in 27 games, averaging just over 14 minutes per game. Over the course of the season, she made 28 3-pointers en route to totaling 163 points. But she has also struggled to stay healthy.

The years of pounding down on the hardwood have caught up to her. Daley has sustained sprained ankles numerous times throughout her playing career, and also struggles with tendinitis. But if she can stay healthy and injury-free, Daley is primed for a superb senior season.

***

Some people have superstitious pregame rituals. Daley isn’t superstitious, but she does have a consistent habit before games—taking a nap.

“I love to sleep,” she said.

Who doesn’t? And it works for Daley, so she’s happy to keep doing it. When she comes back to Conte Forum about an hour before game time, she’s rested and ready to play.

When she looks to the upcoming season, there are some games that catch her eye. Daley is pumped for pretty much any ACC game, for example. But there’s one in particular that she is especially looking forward to, though it won’t come for a few months.

On Jan. 22, BC will once again welcome Duke to Conte Forum for another home matchup against the Blue Devils. Daley is itching for that game to come, because she remembers how good it felt to knock the nationally ranked Blue Devils down two years ago. It would feel nice to do that again, to say the least.

If Daley has any goal for the season, it’s to stay healthy. She knows that if she can stay healthy and positive, her senior season will be memorable.

Last season, with an absence of height, Daley played in more of a forward role. This season, the Eagles have more depth with forwards and centers. Mariella Fasoula and Katie Quandt will likely be the most consistent interior presences. With Fasoula and Quandt taking over the interior, Daley can move back to playing guard and doing what she likes best—shooting the ball.

As a senior, she is now in a leadership role on the team. Whereas just a few years ago Daley was a young member of the team, looking up to the seniors and older teammates, she is now the role model for her younger teammates. For Daley, the Boston Big Sister and athlete who spent her summer volunteering with Vietnamese children, the task of setting a good example and being welcoming won’t be too difficult.

“I think the best quality I have is to bond and make the younger players feel comfortable to come up to me and talk to me about anything,” Daley said.

Daley is determined to make this season her best yet. All of the hard work she’s put in since fourth grade—from the countless hours spent in the backyard perfecting her skills to the hard work put in during her high school career to the time she’s spent in the gym at BC—has been leading her to this, her final collegiate season.

Daley is now a role model on the Eagles. She’s a leader on the team, ready to give it her all for one last season. Now that she will be playing primarily guard again, she will be free to use her greatest strength to her advantage and shoot the ball. She’s itching for the season to start up again. And she’s got her heart and eyes set on BC’s conference opponents.  

Duke should be pretty worried right about now.

 

Women’s Basketball Squeaks Out Win Against Clemson

Once again, Boston College women’s basketball did what it does best on the offensive side of the ball: share it. Of the 23 baskets the Eagles scored Thursday night, 17 of them came off assists. BC (14-12, 2-11 Atlantic Coast) are strongest when the team plays together, proving it as the Eagles downed the Clemson Tigers (4-22, 0-13) by a score of 67-64.

The Eagles got off to a quick start, scoring the first five points of the game, including a 3-pointer from Kelly Hughes. Her 3-pointers were a theme of the game for BC, as she led the team in points and hit five 3s over the course of the game. Clemson came back with a run of its own, scoring seven straight. The Eagles brought it back at Clemson with baskets on three straight possessions, all off assists. One of those baskets was a 3-pointer by Nicole Boudreau, Hughes’ shooting counterpart, and two of them were layups from Mariella Fasoula. Emilee Daley, who has not contributed as much this season as she did last year, was much improved in the first quarter. With the lead 12-7 in favor of BC, Daley was a part of the next four made field goals for the Eagles, notching a 3-pointer and a layup in addition to two assists. After two free throws from Fasoula, the Eagles closed out the first quarter up by 12.

In a tough season, Nelly Perry has been a bright spot for the Tigers. She was at it again against BC, especially during the second quarter. She scored the first four points of the frame, totaling 15. But that was all Clemson scored in the quarter, and despite its best efforts, BC still led by 10 going into the half.

With the help of Perry’s teammates, the ACC-winless Tigers got going in the third. Victoria Cardaci hit two layups right after the break, and, along with a layup and jumper by Perry, the Tigers cut BC’s lead to two. It wasn’t the Tigers’ offense, but their defense that helped spur a comeback in the third quarter. It forced three turnovers and didn’t allow a second-half field goal until the 5:13 mark, when Hughes hit a 3-pointer off a pass from Kailey Edwards.

A Fasoula layup followed by two free throws and a “dagger” 3-pointer by Hughes put the Eagles up nine to start the fourth. At the time, it seemed like a nail in the coffin, but Clemson impressively refused to quit on the game. Even when BC stretched the lead to 11, Perry and Cardaci kept their team in by scoring big buckets. The Tigers stormed back, finally evening up the Eagles.

Head coach Erik Johnson called a timeout to draw up a play for his star player, Hughes. Right out of the timeout, BC got Hughes an open look from beyond the arc that she drained, a true dagger. For the remainder of the game, BC kept Clemson just out of reach for its second ACC win of the season and the first on the road.

Hughes, Fasoula, and Daley were the three top performers in this one. Hughes scored a total of 21 points on five 3-pointers, all while chipping in a team-high seven rebounds. Fasoula was the consistent player that she seemingly has been for weeks now, scoring 16 points and snagging four boards. But Daley was an X-factor off the bench, scoring 10 points and making key contributions throughout the game.

While Clemson is the bottom team in the ACC, any conference road win for the Eagles is huge, and this one goes a long way in showing that the consistent effort by BC is starting to pay off.

Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor

Notebook: Eagles Live and Die by the Three Against UNC

Steph Curry decided to show up in the first half, and he came in the form of Nicole Boudreau. For what seemed like the entire first half, Boudreau dazzled the crowd and sank shots from all over the place. She nailed six 3-pointers and dished out four assists during the opening half to give Boston College a six-point lead. Despite the impressive performance, North Carolina did not give up. The Tar Heels took control of the game early in the fourth quarter and never looked back.

Three Up

Nicole Boudreau’s performance: The senior guard was the clear star for the Eagles today. Head coach Erik Johnson praised Boudreau for the less obvious aspects of her game.

“She’s a very dangerous shooter, but she’s an excellent passer,” Johnson said. “She took care of the basketball for us and she defends the other team’s best player. It would be hard to imagine asking a lot more out of a kid.”

The 3-point shooting was obviously an impressive display, but as Johnson suggested, she is a well-rounded player and she has a relentless drive. Throughout the 36 minutes she played, she seemed to have an unlimited amount of energy. Even the greatest basketball players sometimes take a play or two off, but Boudreau refused to offer anything less than 100 percent while she was on the court.

Ball movement: The Eagles recorded an impressive 21 assists on 29 field goals, displaying selfless basketball. While Boudreau certainly deserves credit for shooting well, her teammates also deserve credit for finding her and knowing when to pass her the ball. Crisp passes and sharp cuts allowed Boudreau to find open looks, and every starter had multiple assists.

“We ended up having 21 assists to 12 turnovers,” Johnson said. “We moved the basketball extremely well.”

Dominant Second Quarter: The first quarter was relatively even, but the Eagles played their best quarter of the night in the second. BC outscored North Carolina 24-14 in the quarter, and the depth of the Eagles was a large factor. While the Tar Heels only used six players during the entire game, the Eagles went with a 10-woman rotation. The fresh legs of Kailey Edwards and Emilee Daley combined for seven points in the quarter. Surprisingly, the additional depth did not help BC in the fourth quarter, but it had a huge impact in the second.

Three Down

3-Point Shooting (Besides Boudreau): The Eagles only converted four of the 20 3-point attempts that were taken by players not named Boudreau. Missing that many deep shots can be extremely problematic because it allows the other team to grab easy rebounds and transition quickly down the court for easier baskets. This problem became significantly worse in the fourth quarter, as BC only converted one of its 11 11 3-point attempts. Too often, the Eagles settled for deep shots and did not attack the basket. These short possessions allowed North Carolina’s defense to rest and failed to expose its lack of depth.

Points Off Turnovers: While the quantity of the turnovers for BC was not bad, the impact of the 12 giveaways was critical. “The turnovers that we made were bad,” Johnson said. “They were in bad positions. We gave them some possessions that we can’t defend.” The Tar Heels scored 20 points off of the 12 turnovers, including eight in the fourth quarter alone. BC’s offense was stagnant in the fourth quarter largely because it consisted of mainly deep 3-pointers and turnovers. That is certainly not a winning formula.

Second Chance Points: Allowing second-chance opportunities drives coaches insane. The Eagles allowed 16 second-chance points, failing to box out and control rebounds at times. The Tar Heels consistently drained mid-range shots, and some of these opportunities existed because of the 11 offensive rebounds that North Carolina recorded. While the Eagles actually grabbed 15 offensive rebounds themselves, they only scored 11 points because of them. North Carolina’s ability to efficiently convert second chances was a key to victory.

Eagles Squander Halftime Lead in Loss to Wake Forest

One jab. One quick punch was all it took for Amber Campbell to swiftly strip Stephanie Jones of the ball. It happened so fast, Jones’ hand kept repeating the dribbling motion even after the ball was gone. Jones looked down and realized something was not right. She quickly pivoted and chased down Campbell, but it was too late. Campbell easily tossed up the layup, allowing Wake Forest to capitalize on yet another Boston College turnover. In a mistake-filled matchup, the Eagles (13-6, 1-5 Atlantic Coast) handed the Demon Deacons (11-9, 2-5) a 65-59 victory.

In the opening quarter, it was typical BC basketball. The defense slipped up, allowing its opponents to grab an early lead. The offense struggled to hold on to the ball while finding a good look at the basket. The opponent’s defense pushed up against the 3-point line, denying splash sister Kelly Hughes from making any of her signature deep treys.

The Demon Deacons successfully broke the BC defense and put up a 10-6 lead halfway through the first quarter. Luckily for the Eagles, Wake struggled to maintain possession of the ball, and easily coughed it up. Unfortunately, BC responded with plenty of turnovers of its own.

With both teams playing a game of hot potato, it remained 18-13 Wake for the first two minutes of the second quarter. When BC finally took control, it put up six unanswered points for the lead. Wake responded in order to remain neck-and-neck with the Eagles.

With three seconds left on the shot clock and seven seconds left in the quarter, Kailey Edwards dished the ball off to an open Emilee Daley. With the shot clock down to one, Daley released the ball, making a buzzer-beater 3-pointer to give BC the 28-26 lead going into the locker room.

The second half is typically when the Eagles shine in close games. They make corrections in the locker room and come back to defeat their opponent every time.  

“I feel like we’ve played this game a bunch of times already this year, we’ve just come out on top,” head coach Erik Johnson said. “Eventually, that kind of cycle is going to come back to get you.”

To open up the second half, Alexa Coulombe fouled Milan Quinn. In the pre-foul shot huddle, Deacon Kandice Ball loudly questioned, “Are we playing zone or man-to-man?” With confusion evident on the Wake side, the Eagles had an opportunity to break away. Boudreau and Hughes had been held to three points each in the first half.

Most teams usually target the two star players, but BC finds a way to spread the defense with its inside-out game. “We’re used to Kelly Hughes coming down to save us with a big deep three,” Johnson said. “You can’t just wait for the big three.”

Boudreau and Hughes knew that, and they constantly penetrated the paint in order to get a look up close. A few possessions later, Boudreau laid it up with two seconds on the shot clock. She missed, but got her own rebound and brought it back around. Boudreau tossed it to Fasoula, who made the layup, giving BC a 34-32 lead. To keep the momentum going, Katie Quandt spun and nailed a jumper, causing Conte Forum to burst into a huge uproar.

But Ariel Stevenson kept Wake in the game and helped push the Demon Deacons to a 46-45 lead going into the fourth quarter. With three players in foul trouble, it seemed the Eagles would have an easy time coming back and sealing the win.

BC was down 52-51 with less than three minutes left. The Eagles had every opportunity to come away with a victory, but instead decided to hand it to the Demon Deacons.

With the help of all-star free-throw shooter Elisa Penna, Wake won the game from the charity stripe by going 20-of-23. Penna went 12-of-12 from the line, with eight of those coming in the fourth quarter. The Eagles were unhappy about this. “We made undisciplined fouls. We bailed them out of situations where they were taking a tough shot,” Johnson said.

With 15.9 seconds left, BC was down by six. Daley missed her 3-pointer, but Boudreau was right at the rim and one-timed the rebound in. The Eagles were down by four with 4.1 seconds left. Penna was fouled off the inbound and drained both free throws to finish with 22 points and lead her team to a 65-59 victory on the road.

The Eagles were disappointed with the play against a beatable ACC opponent.

“We shot 50 percent from the field, and they shot 38 percent and we lost,” Johnson said. “That should not happen. We are an efficient basketball team, we’re a skilled basketball team.”

The team had all the tools necessary to win, but BC did not play its best basketball tonight. “When we had our opportunities, we weren’t able to come up with something,” Johnson said. “Our team has got to get better, there’s no question.”

Featured Image by Amelie Trieu / Heights Editor

Eagles Up Record To 11-1 With Wins Over Bryant, Northeastern

Chalk it up to the annual lull that accompanies Winter Break at Boston College, but BC teams have had an extremely difficult time finishing off inferior opponents in “gimme” games this week. The complacency bug bit BC men’s hockey against Ohio State University and men’s basketball against the University of New Hampshire earlier on—and it seemed to infect BC women’s basketball on Wednesday evening as well.

The Eagles (11-1) came out with a 74-59 victory over Bryant University (3-8), but the difference between the two teams on the scoreboard was not nearly as large as it should have been. The Bulldogs held a lead for much of the first half, and remained within a converted basket of a share of the lead for much of the second.

BC shot well throughout the first stanza, but Bryant kept up a torrential pace. The Bulldogs converted more than 60 percent of their shots in the first two quarters, but their remarkably efficient shooting proved to be unsustainable as it fell over 10 percent during the second half.

BC started to pull away from Bryant halfway through the third quarter on the back of Emilee Daley, who finished with 17 points in the game, despite only playing 23 minutes. Freshman Mariella Fasoula also had an impressive game, tallying 20 points on eight-of-12 shooting, to go along with seven rebounds and four blocks.

Though the lead did not expand into double-digits until there were five minutes left in the game, the contest never really fell out of BC’s control.

The Eagles were not helped by a rare poor shooting night from leading scorer Kelly Hughes, who only converted two of her first nine attempts. She ended up finishing with eight points, shooting 27.3 percent from the field.

The win marks the sixth straight for the Eagles, who remain undefeated at home in nonconference play. Interestingly, the Eagles are also undefeated on the road—their one loss came against the University of Oklahoma in a neutral site game in the Bahamas. BC plays one more nonconference game against Yale University, but that match comes after the Eagles begin ACC play against Virginia Tech on Sunday.

The victory over Bryant was the Eagles’ second win this week—on Monday afternoon, Hughes stole the show in a dominant performance against Northeastern University. The junior guard from Point Pleasant, N.J. put up 26 points and didn’t miss a shot from 3-point range to pace the Eagles to a 71-45 rout over its local rival.

Hughes also recorded her first double-double of the season, grabbing 11 rebounds in the winning effort. While Hughes was BC’s most prolific scorer, the entire team shot efficiently against the Huskies, connecting on 54 percent of its attempts compared to Northeastern’s 25 percent.

The Eagles led the Huskies from beginning to end, taking a commanding 27-point lead into the half. BC shot an astounding 52 percent from 3-point range, nearly 15 percentage points better than its season average of 38.7 percent.

Northeastern is not a great basketball team by any means, but when the Eagles are shooting that well, it would be difficult for even some powerhouses of women’s college basketball to keep up with their pace.

Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor

Daley, Edwards Dominate Hartford To Lift Eagles To 7-1

For the first seven minutes of its game on Wednesday, Boston College women’s basketball seemed to be in for a long night. A team that entered the day at an impressive 6-1 looked like it had come out for a casual pick-up game. You know the type, where everyone is generally decent at basketball but no one has touched a ball in a few months, and it shows.

The Eagles turned the ball over on three of their first four possessions. While the first two were on attempts to get the ball inside to freshman center Mariella Fasoula, who was named ACC Rookie of the Week on Monday after a stellar 23-point performance on 11-of-15 shooting in a tight 58-56 win over Purdue last Thursday, the last one was ugly. After giving up a layup to the University of Hartford Darby Lee for the first points of the game, neither Martina Mosetti nor Ella Awobajo noticed Hawks forward La’Trace Hall sneak in from behind and snag the ball away on the in-bounds, prompting BC head coach Erik Johnson to fly out of his seat and make some quick substitutions.

They didn’t pay immediate dividends, as the Eagles picked up three more turnovers, missed eight shots, and found themselves down 5-0 after those long seven minutes. Eventually, though, BC (7-1) managed to turn it on, flipping a switch and dominating Hartford (4-4) en route to a 62-28 win.

For that switch, you could thank Emilee Daley—the game’s leading scorer despite coming off the bench—who put up 14 points in 21 minutes. You could thank Kelly Hughes, who was the only other player in double digits and just about always puts up a performance worthy of praise.

But tonight, the player to look at was Kailey Edwards.

Her statline won’t immediately pop out—honestly, no one player really stuck out for BC. Daley and Hughes generally come with an eye-catching, 3-point prowess, but even they didn’t separate themselves from the crowd. All but one BC player tallied double-digit minutes and pulled down at least one rebound. All but two made at least one shot and had at least one assist. It was even easier to tell when watching the game, as just about everyone touched the ball on each possession.

“When you’re frustrated, when we turn the ball over five times in the first few minutes, we haven’t even scored a point yet, a lot of teams would start pointing fingers or start trying to save the day themselves or ‘I gotta get mine,’” Johnson said. “None of those things happened with this basketball team.”

Even as great of a team effort as it was, it was Edwards that got things rolling.

She came off the bench four minutes into the game as part of a quick, consistent subbing pattern that Johnson called characteristic of this team. She got two nice offensive boards and missed a jumper in her first three minutes of action, but she finally made her significant contributions with three minutes left in the first quarter and BC down 5-0.

She grabbed a defensive rebound off a missed Hartford jumper and marched the ball down the floor. After a few passes around the arc, she got the ball back, got inside, and drew a foul to get to the line. She only made 1-of-2, but it got BC on the board. The Eagles got a stop on defense, and on the next play, she made a picture-perfect pass from the arc to a cutting Nicole Boudreau, who sunk an uncontested layup—a fluid play that would be repeated a lot in the next 30 minutes.

“A lot of it has to do with our point guard play, it’s been really, really good lately,” Daley said. “They’ve just been looking up and waiting instead of trying to speed things up. We’ve just been playing at our pace.”

BC’s pace has been a good one, as the 7-1 start is the best for the team since it began 11-0 in 2010-11, and the team even received three votes in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll that came out on Tuesday. Of course, the Eagles have yet to face any ACC action, a lineup of teams that will boast not only higher levels of skill, but physically taller competition—Hartford’s tallest player is just 6-foot-1, and the Eagles still struggled at times to find either Fasoula or fellow center Katie Quandt down low. But at other times, they managed to turn their ball movement into very open looks and great shots, of which the ‘Splash Sisters’ (Hughes, Boudreau, and Daley), as well as the rest of the team, will be eager to take advantage.

The defense was even more impressive on the night. Though Hartford missed some shots it could have made, the Eagles didn’t give up many good looks and certainly played a big role in holding their opponents to 20 percent from the field. They used their height advantage well to dominate the rebound battle, 55-23, and even more impressively didn’t send the Hawks to the line once, another great testament to how well Johnson’s team defended its opponents’ shots.

With another one of the defense’s many stops after Boudreau’s lay-in, Edwards got the ball back for a third straight possession on the left side. This time, she drove hard to her left down the baseline and picked up another foul. She sunk both, tying the game at five.

Although Hartford’s Deanna Mayza made a three at the other end to temporarily retake the lead for the Hawks, BC continued on a 26-4 run in the next 12 minutes, quickly putting the game far out of reach and never sinking back to its opening effort.

Though the level of competition will rise, BC has proven it can adjust and find ways to improve in short-term situations. If it can continue to build upon that foundation, the Eagles can expect to receive some more attention and votes in the weeks to come.

Featured Image by Savanna Kiefer / Heights Editor

BC Women’s Basketball Needs To Buy In (Or Bust)

Bring the ball up the court. Set a couple screens to get Kelly Hughes or Nicole Boudreau open. Get one of them the ball. Pray she makes it. Repeat.

That’s the formula Boston College women’s basketball has run with the past couple years.
It makes sense, since relying on threes is one of the easiest things you can do in basketball. Not to say making them is easy—reliable shooters must have steady hands, strong legs, and innumerable hours logged in the gym. But if you don’t have size, if you don’t have strength, if you don’t have the skill to break through some of the best defenses in the country, putting up 3-point shots beyond the arc is just about the only option you got. And hey, you get an extra point for doing it.

Fortunately for the Eagles, they have the “Splash Sisters,” a self-proclaimed name by the trio of Emilee Daley, Boudreau, and Hughes. Last season, the three combined to shoot 37 percent from 3-point range and made 197 of the team’s 240 threes, a figure that placed the team at 12th in the country and first in the ACC.

The 3-pointer is what allowed BC to upset No. 15 Duke last season—39 of the Eagles’ 60 points came from the triple, while the Blue Devils made just two of 11. Their explosiveness will put BC’s competition on upset alert again this season, but it’s not what will get them over the hump of mediocrity. After BC broke its own 3-point record for each of the past several years, head coach Erik Johnson wants his team to start taking a more challenging path.

“I hope we don’t break it,” Johnson said, laughing. “We were too homogeneous last year. We were one-dimensional.”

After three years of specialization in the Johnson era, that one-dimensional offense is finally ready to expand. Enter Mariella Fasoula, the 6-foot-4 freshman from Greece, and fellow center, 6-foot-3 Katie Quandt, who are on a joint mission to control the paint.

Quandt started off a little slow in her first year on the Heights last season, but she eventually came into her own. She started the last seven games for BC, averaging 24 minutes, 7.3 points, and 4.0 rebounds a game in that stretch. When Quandt wasn’t on the court, however, the Eagles relied on Karima Gabriel and Alexa Coulombe—both 6-foot-2 forwards—to play as undersized fives.

Because of its lack of size, BC struggled with several aspects of its inside game—the most notable, getting boards and points inside. The Eagles outrebounded their ACC opponents in just two of 16 games, and at times had fewer defensive boards than their opponents had offensive.

With the addition of Fasoula, BC gets a center with experience playing for the Greek national team. She will likely need some time to fully adapt to the college game, but at the very least, she provides a frame that will allow the Eagles to improve inside. At best, she has the potential to be a go-to player and top rebounder in the post for BC for several years to come.

Meanwhile, BC has also improved its ability to drive. Sophomore Martina Mosetti and freshman Stephanie Jones, both quick and solid point guards, will split time bringing up the ball. Two players who redshirted last season, Kailey Edwards and Ella Ewobajo, are both slashing forwards that Johnson is excited to see take the court at BC, which should address another glaring weakness for the Eagles last season: getting to the line.

BC took about four fewer foul shots per game than its opponents last season, and took 200 fewer total shots from the line than the average team in the ACC. These numbers are even harder to swallow because of BC’s shooting ability—the team shot 72.1 percent from the line last season, good for fifth in the ACC.

“If the opponent is shooting way more foul shots than you are shooting, that’s a problem,” Johnson said. “But that’s a product of settling for shots.”

Make no mistake, this is still a 3-point-shooting team. Ever since Hughes first laced up her Under Armour high tops, the Eagles became a team that loves playing beyond the arc. Now, they finally look ready to try a little something new, something that could allow them to exceed expectations for the second year in a row.

While the ultimate goal is to get back to the NCAA Tournament, a trip the Eagles haven’t made since 2006 (the first year BC competed in the ACC), a WNIT berth is certainly not a far stretch. BC last reached that tournament in 2011 by going 20-12 and 5-9 in the ACC. The thing is, an invite to the NCAA isn’t even as far of a reach as you may think. Although the talent-abundant conference has made for a more challenging schedule, it does widen the tournament window—the top eight teams in the conference made the NCAA Tourney last season, and the lowest seed, Miami, finished 8-8 in-conference and 20-13 overall. With three more ACC wins last season, BC would have been in the conversation. You might want to get ready to start talking about them this year.

“My biggest goal since I’ve gotten here, that realistically I haven’t thought was possible until now, is to make the NCAA Tournament,” Boudreau said. “I think with this team, that we’ve come together, and I think it’s really possible.”


While he watches his team practice, Johnson doesn’t stand still. The head coach paces back and forth in the middle of Power Gym, wearing down the half court line as he surveys his team. The overall image isn’t unlike the one we painted last year [http://bcheights.com/sports/2014/coming-together/]: a coach watching his team hustle through its various drills without the need for constant encouragement. The coaching staff had previously needed to provide the energy for the team, Johnson said last November, but now the girls were taking it upon themselves.

Everything isn’t the same, though. Last year’s team was supposed to be the one that pushed itself and built up a positive, competitive culture, not the one riddled with off-court issues and punishments midway through conference play.

“I was shocked that we had off-court issues last year,” Johnson said.

In reflecting back on the suspensions he doled out—Lauren Engeln was removed from the team, while Boudreau and Kat Cooper were each suspended one game—Johnson’s first thoughts dart to UConn. Of course, every women’s basketball coach at the D-I level—or any level, really—should be thinking about the Huskies. They’ve gone undefeated in four seasons since 2000 and have won the NCAA championship more times than not in those 16 seasons. They’re in a league above the rest with Notre Dame, Stanford, and Baylor—a quartet that has filled almost two-thirds of the Final Four spots in the last eight years.

But it’s not even the talent of those squads that Johnson envies the most—it’s their overall focus and work ethic. “There’s no baloney,” he said. “You know, when you’re building culture, you want to minimize drama. We have to start as a coaching staff to set that tone. If kids are going to act in certain ways that clearly defy it, hey, suspensions are things that have to follow.”

But the drama—or at least the drama visible to the outside world—didn’t come from the two younger classes, which combined for 64 percent of BC’s minutes and 76 percent of the starts in conference play. Rather, they were all players that had several years of college experience. Engeln, a transfer from UConn, was a fifth-year senior. Cooper, who lost most of her sophomore year to a knee injury, was a redshirt junior. Although Johnson never referred to a frustration with playing time as a factor in the team’s shortcomings last season, both had seen significant cuts to make room on the court for the underclassmen—Engeln saw her minutes slashed by two-thirds and started just five of 22 games compared to 31 the year before, while Cooper got just half the minutes and three versus 25 starts.

With the arrival of a second true center this year, it’s likely Gabriel also would have had her playing time reduced, which would explain her transfer to Cal State Fullerton this summer. Cooper also transferred this summer—to Oregon—and Engeln maxed out on her eligibility.

Then there’s Boudreau, the only returning player who faced punishment last year. She’s also the only four-year starter on the roster, someone that BC needs on the court as much as possible, and one of the few players left that came in to BC with Johnson. The pair are both passionate and strong-willed—traits they’ve recognized about themselves.

“Last year, I didn’t wanna ask for help,” Boudreau said. “I kinda just wanted to do it on my own.”

This year, she doesn’t have to. Coulombe—or Mama Lex, as she’s known on the team—will serve as a co-captain this season. And although she doesn’t fill up the statline in the same way her partner does on a given night, her teammates know how much she cares. That makes them listen.

“She keeps me grounded a lot,” Boudreau said. “We’re kind of like the angel and devil—we have two different skillsets, and she balances me out. She makes it a lot easier for me.”

Meanwhile, Johnson has also realized the need to take a step back.

“I had to take a hard look at myself and the ways that I was building relationships with them, building trust, gaining buy-in,” he said. “I accept responsibility, too—this is happening on my watch.”

In casting down the suspensions, Johnson made it clear that the rules aren’t merely suggestions for how his players should act. He has firm beliefs about what his team should value, and those aren’t going to change. But this past year has made him more open to discussions with his team. Rather than just telling his players what their values should be, he has tried to get them to embrace their values together with his own.

“If kids are going to act in certain ways that clearly defy [the rules], hey, suspensions are things that have to follow,” Johnson said “[But] what you’re seeing now is a group that’s like, ‘we’re not going down those roads.’ And they’re policing each other.”

They also seem to be fully behind their coach, individually echoing the same buzzwords he preached: “accountable,” “responsible,” “toughness,” “team.” Both Fasoula and Quandt praised his ability to be a great coach on and off the court, citing examples of dinners at his house, mini golf outings over the summer, and individual coffees to see how his players are doing.

“I think it’s more of just the little gestures that he does,” Quandt said. “He doesn’t have to be all extravagant to show that he cares.”

It has been Johnson’s goal to make his players see how much he cares. That, along with aligning their values, is what he believes will truly keep them bought into the process. If he’s wrong, if he can’t get his girls to buy in for a full season, if he again has to dole out suspensions this year because of off-court issues, he may never become the coach that makes BC competitive in the ACC. But if this is the year they stay committed (and they keep dropping threes), this will be the first team in the Johnson era to receive a tournament invitation.