Boston College women’s basketball has shown great signs of improvement under first-year head coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee. The Eagles have already doubled their win total from last season and play an exciting up-tempo brand of basketball. However, in recent weeks it has been abundantly clear that BC still has a long way to go in order to compete with the top teams in the ACC. On Sunday afternoon, the Eagles dropped their seventh contest in a row, falling to No. 4 Louisville, 87-51.
Louisville (25-2, 12-2 Atlantic Coast) did not waste any time to assert its dominance. At the first media timeout, BC (14-14, 3-12) already trailed by 11 points. Arica Carter and Sam Fuehring got off to great starts for the home team, eventually totaling 11 and nine points respectively. The Cardinals closed the opening quarter with a comfortable 23-11 lead, holding the Eagles to their second-lowest first quarter output. BC started the game cold, only shooting 27 percent from the field in the first 10 minutes of play. Conversely, Louisville shot over 53 percent from the floor and dominated the Eagles on the boards.
BC found an offensive rhythm in the second quarter, hitting half of its field goal attempts. Unfortunately for the Eagles, they failed to stop Louisville on the other end of the court. The Cardinals piled up 22 points in the quarter, working their way inside with ease. Louisville took advantage of a foul-happy BC side to the tune of 10-of-13 shooting at the charity stripe in the first half alone. At one point, Louisville opened a 22-point lead, but the Eagles cut the deficit down to 18 at the half behind a Taylor Ortlepp 3-pointer and a five-point spurt from Milan Bolden-Morris off the bench.
The same pattern from the second quarter continued into the third. Once again, both teams were hot from the field. This time, though, BC was undone by turnovers. The Eagles coughed up the ball seven times in the quarter, causing them to only score 12 points, despite shooting a better percentage than their opponents. Louisville finished the frame on a 9-0 run, claiming a 66-39 lead.
The fourth quarter was also eerily similar to the third, even though Cardinals’ leading scorer Asia Durr played just two minutes of it. Once more, Louisville outscored BC, 21-12. Additionally, BC turned the ball over seven more times and failed to get good looks on the offensive end. The Eagles racked up 24 turnovers in the loss, three shy of a season-worst.
Sophomore Sydney Lowery led BC with a team-high 12 points and 5 rebounds, but Emma Guy was the only other Eagle to reach double figures, adding 10 points.
Durr contributed 23 points for the Cardinals, topping her impressive season average of 20.6 points per game. Kylee Shook also had one of her best games of the season, notching 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field.
On Sunday afternoon, BC was dominated from the opening whistle. The Eagles could not handle the Cardinals’ initial run and failed to ever reduce the deficit to a manageable margin. Louisville outplayed BC in every aspect of the game. The Cardinals shot a much better percentage from the floor, controlled the glass, and took advantage of BC’s poor ball security. Perhaps, most shocking is the fact that Louisville got to the free throw line 27 times. On the other hand, BC shot just four free throws. This speaks to the differences in offensive aggressiveness between the two teams.
After such a promising start, the challenges of the ACC have been on full display. Not only is this BC’s seventh straight loss, but four of those games have been decided by 27 points or more. While these struggles were expected, they are still difficult to deal with. Bernabei-McNamee found early results and has kickstarted a rebuild, but it’s going to be a tough pill to swallow if the Eagles finish winless in February—something that is likely, as they close the year against a No. 16 Syracuse team that beat them by 27 points back on Feb. 10.
Featured Image by Timothy Easley / AP Photo