Boston College women's basketball team may not have earned an invitation to the NCAA tournament, but they are still having postseason success. After their bye in the first round, the Eagles defeated Boston University 68-53 in the second round of the WNIT.
The first half did not start as BC had hoped; they were a bit sluggish after going two weeks without a game. "We expected to kind of get off to a slow start. It's been a while since we played – over two weeks. We've been scrimmaging the male practice players and each other because we didn't want to have this kind of performance tonight," said head coach Sylvia Crawley.
The Eagles committed nine turnovers in the first half, on which the Terriers capitalized with 11 points. Although BU was only credited with three steals, the players seemed to get their hand in every passing lane and tipped the ball many more times. Fortunately for the Eagles, they were able to recover more often than not.
BU's success from beyond the arc was the other factor which most hurt BC in the first half. Of the Terriers' 34 first-half points, 21 came from three-point shooting. Senior guard Kristi Dini contributed most of the baskets; she was 4 of 7 in the first period. Two other players, junior forward Aly Hinton and senior forward Jesyka Burks-Wiley, supplied the other three three-pointers.
During halftime, the Eagles made some adjustments and stopped the three-point attack. After shooting 58.3 percent from beyond the arc in the first twenty minutes, the Terriers only managed 2 of 11 in the second.
"They set a lot of stagger screens, double screens. We had to trail those screens; we would defend one part of the play and then relax, and their players never stop moving. Their players move extremely well without the ball. If you got beat, just communicate and someone would switch with you. The first half we were not doing that at all. The second half we kind of settled down and trailed on the screens and got a hand up," said Crawley.
Though they were ahead in the statistics, BC was getting beat on the floor in the first half. BU was playing harder and faster than the Eagles. However, they were able to adjust and come out with more momentum in the second half, much like they were doing earlier in the season, before their post-Duke slump.
"We looked at the stat sheet and we were winning in every statistical category except the three-point line," said Crawley. "I called out every single stat for both teams to our players and let them tell me what we needed to improve on."
The saving grace for the Eagles was their rebounding. In the first half, BC out-rebounded BU 23-12, only allowing the Terriers one offensive rebound. It was those rebounds which allowed the Eagles to claw their way back into the game after finding themselves down by nine points just under seven minutes into the game.
"After a while they started to wear us down with the offensive rebounds. Late in the first half they got three in a row for easy buckets. I think we did a lot of good things, but the rebounds just killed us," said BU head coach Kelly Greenburg.
Rebounding only improved for BC in the second period of play. They had another 32 boards to BU's 11. The Terrier's four offensive rebounds limiting their scoring opportunities; they did not score any second chance points. The Eagles, on the other hand, scored 26 second chance points, over a third of their total points.
Sophomore center Carolyn Swords led the team in scoring with her eleventh double-double of the season, with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Classmate Stefanie Murphy led on the boards with 11 rebounds and 11 points in her fifth double-double.
The Eagles take this momentum into an important game at St. John's Thursday night. BC fell to the Red Storm in the St John's tournament earlier this year and in the third round of the WNIT last year. BC's players are itching to avenge those losses and prove that they have improved as a team.
Women Rally Past BU
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