Boston College women’s basketball finished up a nine-game homestand Sunday afternoon in its second ACC contest of the season against North Carolina State. Coming off a hard-fought loss to Georgia Tech on Thursday night, the Eagles were eager to make a mark in the conference win column before hitting the road. Their dreams of establishing an early presence in the ACC soon dissipated, though, as an aggressive Wolfpack defense and dominance in the post proved too much to overcome. N.C. State’s Kiara Leslie went for a career-high 31 points in what proved to be a 85-69 runaway win for the undefeated No. 9 Wolfpack (15-0, 2-0 Atlantic Coast).
The Eagles (11-4, 0-2) had no answer for Leslie, who stole the show. She was incredibly efficient, hitting 13-of-15 shots from the field while adding a trio of 3-pointers. Leslie was one of three N.C. State players in double figures, as the team shot a season-high 58.6 percent from the field, continuing its best start in program history.
Both sides started out slowly, with the first score being a 3-pointer by Wolfpack guard Aisleen Konig coming almost two minutes into regulation. N.C. State was up 5-0 before the Eagles found their way on the board through a layup by Emma Guy, but scoring for BC was few and far between. In hopes of crippling the Wolfpack’s offensive momentum, the Eagles doubled up on Konig, who entered shooting 45.1 percent from distance. This opened up the field for Leslie, who drilled three consecutive 3-pointers in under a minute and a half going into the second half of the frame. BC’s Georgia Pineau stopped the bleeding with a with a jumper in the lane off an N.C. State turnover, but the Eagles would miss their next seven shots. The Wolfpack went on a run, however, keeping the Eagles scoreless until the buzzer and finding a nearly unstoppable offensive rhythm to build a 21-7 lead.
The Eagles came out aggressively in the second quarter, where Sydney Lowery pushed her way into the paint for a nifty layup within the first 20 seconds. Then, Makayla Dickens—who registered her first career double double with 17 points and 17 rebounds—pushed the ball in transition before the N.C. State defense could even get set, connecting with Taylor Ortlepp for an easy finish and another quick score. Just when the Eagles found themselves within 10 points, however, the Wolfpack went on a 6-0 run featuring a 15-footer by Armani Hawkins. Dickens responded with a pair of 3-pointers to begin hacking at the lead, but it was to no avail as BC continually failed to rotate and find N.C. State shooters, leading to a 17-point deficit at the half.
Coming out of intermission, Leslie picked up where she left off in the first half, knocking down a 3-pointer in the first 30 seconds of the third quarter. BC upped the ante on the offensive end of the court, as Emma Guy made an efficient cut to the basket for a layup, and Marnelle Garraud connected on a 3-pointer to close the gap to 15. Momentum didn’t last, though, as the Wolfpack went on an 8-0 run that included an old-fashioned three-point play from Leslie and consecutive layups from Erika Cassell, who finished with 10 points. Eagles guard Milan Bolden-Morris came off the bench to hit a pair of 3-pointers, but they bookended an 8-0 run from N.C. State that pushed the lead to 22.
While BC staged an impressive offensive showing in the penultimate period, outscoring the Wolfpack, 22-16, it proved too little and too late. Key plays included yet another triple by Dickens and an impressive hook inside by Guy in the final moments of the game. It was Konig, however, who possessed the hot hand in the final 10 minutes, with a step-back 3-point shot off the dribble to justify her title as one of the best shooters in the nation—she finished 4-of-6 from 3-point land and totaled 16 points.
While a loss to a top-tier, undefeated ACC team is largely understandable, the Eagles certainly did not play to their abilities at the outset of the game. BC committed 13 turnovers and had trouble sinking its shots, connecting on just 39.3 percent from the field—its second time finishing under 40 percent in as many games. Despite strong performances from Garraud, Guy and Dickens, the Eagles were unable to put together a cohesive effort and will have to wait to earn their first win in conference play, which resumes Jan. 10, when Bernabei-McNamee and Co. hit the road for a game against Wake Forest.
Featured Image by Celine Lim / Heights Editor