With Georgia Pineau—despite battling sickness—leading the offense, Boston College women’s basketball shook off a two-game losing streak against Rhode Island on Thursday night.
Pineau scored a season-high 13 points and hauled in seven rebounds, three other Eagles reached double digits, and BC built a 16-point halftime lead en route to a 66-55 win over the visiting Rams.
“She needs to get pneumonia more often—I like her with pneumonia,” head coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee joked afterward, with Pineau sitting on her right. “She doesn’t even have the energy to talk back or anything. It works great.”
Pineau shot 50 percent from the field and, while subbing out frequently, scored eight of her points in the second quarter. She had back-to-back layups midway through the second stanza to stretch the Eagles’ (3-2) lead to as many as 22 points. Her effort on the boards was admirable too, as the 6-foot-1 forward was going up against a formidable URI (2-2) roster that features 11 players over 6 feet.
BC managed to win the rebounding battle narrowly, 46-43, which was a good test for the Eagles, as the ACC features four of the top six teams in the country in rebounding rate, per HerHoopStats.
“It’s great to have these games early on in our season so we can be prepared for when we play those big players,” Pineau said. “We just have to stay physical, know our game plan, and stick to it.”
The Eagles stormed out of the gate, showing a resilient defensive effort that was lacking in losses to Holy Cross and Providence. BC held the Rams to just six first-quarter points, building a 13-point lead. Cam Swartz hit a pair of 3-pointers, Milan Bolden-Morris contributed five points, and Emma Guy closed the quarter on a high note with a layup with 20 seconds to play.
“I liked the defensive effort,” Bernabei-McNamee said of the first frame. “I told them I could hear them communicating from the bench and talking about everything they needed to and should’ve been talking about.”
BC picked up where it left off at the start of the second, opening on an 11-2 run that featured a pair of layups from Taylor Soule and Makayla Dickens’ second 3-pointer of the game. Comfortably ahead by 22 points, though, the Eagles closed the half with some offensive struggles as the Rams cut the deficit to 16.
“This game was a lot of highs and lows,” Bernabei-McNamee said. “I thought at times we looked really great on both ends of the floor, and at times we looked a little lost on both ends.”
Out of halftime, URI continued to close the gap. The Rams used six points from guard Erin Jones and back-to-back jumpers from Marta Vargas to narrow the Eagles’ once-insurmountable lead to just eight. The Eagles answered with back-to-back jumpers from Swartz, who finished with 10 points, followed by a free throw from Pineau and a Sydney Lowery layup to close the quarter with a 13-point lead.
Aiming to avoid another run from the Rams, the fourth quarter opened with Marnelle Garraud going on an individual run for the hosts. Garraud, who had been held scoreless up to that point, scored BC’s first five points of the quarter, then added a 3-pointer in response to a pair of buckets from the Rams to extend the lead back to 17. URI would eventually close the game on a 7-0 run behind points from four different players, but Garraud created enough separation for BC to earn the 11-point win.
“We talked about pushing and kind of playing our pace for 40 minutes, and I thought we did that for the majority of the game,” Bernabei-McNamee said. “That’s something we went away from our last couple of games. I’m glad they pushed the tempo and pace.”
The improved defensive effort was a promising sign for the Eagles, as they gave up 80 and 76 points, respectively, in their previous two losses. BC has the players to push the pace and create offense, so turning in a more balanced effort was the key to the win. The Eagles will have a good chance to build off this performance against VCU on Sunday, since the other Rams have been managing just 52.8 points per game—a mark that’s good for 326th in the country. Continuing to grow defensively will be important before their first conference game, which is just a few weeks away.
Featured Image by Ikram Ali / Heights Editor