The crowd was lively in Conte Forum on Sunday afternoon, drawing in spectators both for Senior Day and National Girls and Women in Sports Day, making it a thrilling environment for Boston College women’s basketball (17-10, 10-6 Atlantic Coast) to face off against Miami.
The Eagles defeated Miami (13-14, 5-11), with a final score of 75-64, extending their conference win streak to five games and pushing the program’s single-season record for ACC wins to 10.
Scoring was on a pendulum from the get-go, swinging back and forth for most of the game until the contest neared the end and BC started to pull away from the Hurricanes.
Miami entered the game coming off a narrow two-point loss to No. 10 NC State last Thursday, but the Eagles entered on a high from the last several games and were focused more on themselves than Miami’s recent performances.
BC’s team effort was tenacious. Despite being on the wrong end of some physical fouls, the Eagles showed strength and resilience all the way until the end of the game, especially BC’s seniors, who were also paid a special tribute throughout the game from their teammates and head coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee.
“The success of our team right now and the cool things that we’re getting to experience is really on their backs [and] shoulders, and we rely on them a lot,” Bernabei-McNamee said when referring to the seniors. “They played so hard and our team played so hard for them. … It was great.”
One of the star seniors, Georgia Pineau, was forced to the ground in what the crowd thought was an obvious foul, but the stands soon calmed down after the two quick points that BC scored from the throw-in.
With just over six minutes to play, Pineau was knocked down hard yet again by Sydnee Roby from Miami. The play unexpectedly turned out to benefit the Eagles, as it was called an intentional foul and resulted in Makayla Dickens being sent to the line, where she sank her two free throws. Pineau followed the free throws up with two points of her own, turning into two back-to-back successful plays for BC.
Pineau had a total of 20 points, which was a season high for her. She was 4-for-4 from the free throw line and had a total of eight rebounds, four assists, and a block.
“She had a killer, killer day,” Bernabei-McNamee said of Pineau. “She’s kind of like that calming force, and I know that if they reverse it to her she’s not going to go crazy, she’s going to get it back, and it’s nice to have that leadership in the backcourt.”
Emma Guy was second in scoring for the Eagles with a total of 17 points. She was 5-for-8 from the free throw line and had four rebounds, an assist, and a block.
Despite their solid effort throughout the majority of the contest, the beginning started out a bit rocky for the Eagles. Guy won the tipoff but seconds later handed the ball over to the Hurricanes who quickly tallied two points right off the bat.
BC also took some mismanaged shots—including many rogue 3-point attempts that were well contested and thrown away too quickly, resulting in a dismal 5.3 percent from beyond the arc. The Eagles showed a lack of focus on trying to make solid shots inside the paint that could be easier points than ones taken from distance.
On the defensive side of the ball, Pineau, Dickens, and Marnelle Garraud did well at rebounding and protecting the net. They all consistently got great height and showed strength when boxing out their opponents to regain possession of the ball.
“I think that we have been on the defensive end kind of dictating and getting offenses to do what we want them to do as opposed to what they want to do,” said Bernabei-McNamee. “I was really proud of our backcourt just handling the pressure and limiting our turnovers. … I thought we controlled the tempo of the game for the most part, and we also controlled our turnovers.”
Offensively, Dickens created some great plays with the second-most assists for the Eagles with six. In the second quarter, she made a great pass to Taylor Ortlepp, who in turn assisted Pineau in scoring two points for the Eagles. It was a great example of BC’s tremendous team effort which was carried into the second half of the game.
The game really began to heat up with just under four minutes to play in the third when the ball became loose and players from both teams threw themselves to the ground until the Eagles recovered it, passing it to Guy who added two points for the play.
The fourth quarter featured a solid effort from Pineau, Taylor Soule, and Guy. With two minutes left to play, the Eagles had a comfortable 12-point lead to pull away and close out the game.
“Everyone was playing for each other tonight,” Pineau said. “It’s all about playing hard and knowing each other’s strengths and weaknesses. …It’s so good to be on a team that I know has so much potential and in the next few years is going to keep getting better and better. … It’s nice to be the start of that program.”
Featured Image by Leo Wang / Heights Staff