It all started so promisingly for Boston College women’s basketball. The Eagles appeared to have translated their newfound confidence from Sunday’s win over Pittsburgh—their first in more than a month—into a dynamic exhibition of free-flowing basketball. About 30 seconds into Thursday night’s game against Louisville, Milan Bolden Morris drilled a a couple 3-pointers, and Georgia Pineau followed suit with a quick two buckets of her own.
Hardly two minutes had passed, and BC found itself in uncharted waters: It had an early six-point lead against a top-tier opponent. The Eagles had Louisville on its heels, a team that only shot 3-of-11 in the opening frame, allowing BC to take the initiative, closing out the half on a 9-0 run. At the end of one, BC had already scored 23 points—11.2 more than its first quarter season average. But, soon enough, reality kicked in. The Eagles’ 12-point lead went to waste, as the Cardinals outscored BC, 20-4, in the ensuing frame, marking the start of what was a full-force Eagles collapse. Louisville scored 55 of the game’s final 80 points, running away with an 87-52 victory.
BC’s (7-19, 2-11 Atlantic Coast) early success was primarily due to Pineau, who was filling in at center for Emma Guy—the influential 6-foot-3 sophomore. Despite playing out of her natural position, the Australian was able to find mismatches, break pressure, and consistently attack the rim, finishing with 11 points after the first 10 minutes.
The Eagles, who looked comfortable on both sides of the floor, maintained their lead at the start of the second quarter, with the teams exchanging straightforward baskets. Then, came the turning point of the entire contest. With 4:47 to go in the quarter, No. 4 Louisville (26-2, 12-1) took a timeout—and when it took the court again, it was almost as if it was a different team.
In what was a night and day transformation, the Cardinals lit up the scoreboard in the back half of the period, even claiming a five-point lead before halftime.
Louisville’s resurgence coincided with junior forward Sam Fuehring’s elevated play, as well as that of her partner-in-crime, Myisha Hines-Allen. The two began to dominate the interior, collecting a trio of buckets apiece. Following the game, BC head coach Erik Johnson told reporters that Fuehring’s demeanor alone might just have changed the game.
“[She] is just a hard-nosed, hustle kid, who sprints the floor, cuts hard, and she did—her energy level and her compete level made a big difference,” Johnson said. “That was a matchup that we were found lacking.”
But perhaps what was most disappointing for Johnson was BC’s second-half showing, which epitomized his frustrations with the team. While the Cardinals found energy with every passing moment, adding more than 50 points to their first half total, BC simply could not replicate its first quarter form. Again, the turnover bug came back to haunt the Eagles, as they coughed up the ball 20 times, giving up 35 points off those free possessions.
Turnovers, defensive deficiencies, a thin lineup, and fatigue were all things Johnson could have pointed to after the loss. Instead, he was adamant that, regardless of the circumstances, his team should have shown more fight over the course of the final three quarters of play.
“At the end of the day, we don’t make excuses, and we don’t let other people make excuses for us,” he said. “If you only play when you feel good, you’re not going to win a lot—you’ve got to be able to push through.”
Featured Image by Kaitlin Meeks / Heights Editor