Noles Clip Eagles' Wings

The BC women's basketball team suffered their second consecutive loss last night, falling to 15th ranked Florida State. The loss dropped the Eagles into fifth place in the conference, just ahead of 17th ranked Virginia and just behind 8th ranked North Carolina.

The Boston College women's basketball team knew going in that it would be tough to beat Florida State, one of the titans of the ACC.

That task got even tougher without the services of their most valuable player.

With 8:17 remaining in the game, Carolyn Swords was inadvertently smacked in the face by Cierra Bravard on a rebound attempt. Swords fell to the floor and bleeding profusely. She did not return to the game.

From that point forward, the Seminoles were able to turn what was a knock-down, drag-out, back-and-forth affair into a fairly comfortable win. With the exception of a short, emotional burst from the Eagles immediately following Swords' departure, Florida State cruised through the final minutes to hand BC a 64-53 loss in front of 1,008 at Conte Forum.

"Once Carolyn went down, that was tough for us," head coach Sylvia Crawley said after the game. "Some of our players stepped up - we tried to rally together… but we didn't do enough of the little things you have to do to win."

"Carolyn got hurt, but it's basketball – these things happen," she added. "We have other players. We didn't work hard enough to win this game."

Florida State outpaced BC 16-6 over the final 6:52. The Eagles surged with the first 5 points after Swords went down, but their momentum quickly slowed. Mara Freshour hit a backbreaking three pointer with 3:03 to play to cap off an 8-1 FSU run, putting the Seminoles up 57-48. Freshour also hit four free throws as FSU closed out their victory.

Compounding the loss of Swords, who had a game-high 11 rebounds, was the Eagles' woes from the floor. BC shot 17-for-55 (30.9%) for the game and 5-for-20 from three-point range.

By contrast, the Seminoles shot 6-of-10 from behind the arc and 23-for-50 overall (46.0%), using sharpshooting by Freshour (22 points, 7 rebounds) and Tanae Davis-Cain (11 points) along with stifling, aggressive man-to-man defense to break BC's 7-game home winning streak.

"We didn't shoot the ball well tonight," said Crawley. "We missed a lot of easy layups. They did a good job against us [defensively]. Once we worked it inside, we were able to score… but you've got to make big plays to beat a team like this, and we didn't do it."

Mickel Picco, BC's leading scorer this year, struggled, shooting 2-for-15 with 7 points on the game. She did extend her streak of consecutive games with at least one three pointer, but not until the final minute when the game was out of reach. The impressive junior from Austin, TX has knocked down a three pointer in 30 straight games.

"Picco was struggling this week, she was in the hospital the night before last, she was sick," said Crawley. "She had some sort of virus going around; we had four players get sick this week. But that's not an excuse – now is the part of the season where you have to really take care of yourself and eat well."

"We made sure [everyone] saw the doctor and got medicine before the game," she continued. "When it's game time, you've got to go out there and get it done."

It was the rebounding prowess and inside game of Swords and Murphy that allowed BC to stay in the game in the first half despite shooting 8-for-31. BC beat FSU on the boards 24-16 in the first 20 minutes, including 12-6 on the offensive glass.

The Seminoles opened up the game on an 11-4 run, but the Eagles began pounding it inside, picking up two baskets from Swords to force the FSU defense to collapse inside. Then, Stefanie Murphy dropped back with a three-pointer to give BC their first lead, 14-13, with 12:24 left in the first half. Murphy had 16 points to lead BC, including a 6-for-7 effort from the free throw line.

Swords and the rest of the Eagles continued to rebound ferociously, giving the Eagles countless second- and third-chances. With 1:41 left in the half, Picco missed a three point attempt. Thoman was there for the board and tried to shovel it in, but her attempt missed as well. But Ayla Brown recovered that rebound and scooped it in with her left hand to cut FSU's lead to 26-24.

BC jumped out to a 38-37 lead in the first eight minutes of the 2nd half on the strength of a three by Jaclyn Thoman (8 points, 5 assists) and a three point play by Murphy.

But a critical stretch just before Swords' injury put BC behind for good. Florida State scored nine points in just over two minutes to go up 46-38, and the Eagles responded with desperate three-point attempts. Picco and Victoria Jones each attempted threes in traffic, prompting Crawley to call timeout with 9:29 to go.

BC responded positively to the timeout with a layup by Ayla Brown to cut the Seminole lead to 6, but on the next BC possession, Swords sustained her injury.

The Eagles are now 17-6 (5-3 ACC). Florida State moves into first place in the ACC with a 19-5 (7-1 ACC) record.

Next up for BC is Maryland, one of the top teams in the country, on Monday night at Conte Forum.

"We'll definitely learn from [our mistakes]," Crawley said. "We'll watch some film, we'll see what they did to take away our looks, and we'll get Picco some rest."

"I think they'll be fired up for Maryland," she continued. "This is a team that bounces back quickly. I expect a very good ballgame on Monday."

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