Women Beat St. Johns

The women's basketball team continues to roll through the NIT. Last night they beat former rival St. Johns to advance to the quarterfinals. The four point win is their second in the tournament and sets the stage for their showdown with Georgetown at Conte Forum this Sunday.

Last year, the Boston College women's basketball team had a record of 22-11 going into the third round of the Women's National Invitational Tournament at St. John's University. They lost, 56-65. This year, BC had a record of 22-11 going into the third round of the WNIT at St. John's. They won, 68-64.

"We talked about how they were stuck in Groundhogs Day [a movie in which a meteorologist was stuck repeating a bad day over and over]", said head coach Sylvia Crawley. The Eagles finally broke out of the loop, after losing to the Red Storm by nine points each of the last two times the teams faced.

BC came out hard, looking for the win. Sophomore forward Stefanie Murphy hit a jumper to start the game. Junior guard Ayla Brown grabbed the rebounds of three of St. John's first six shots, sophomore center Carolyn Swords blocked two, and sophomore guard Jaclyn Thoman blocked the sixth.

The Red Storm did manage to snag a lead while the score was still low, but never more than three. Junior guard Mickel Picco hit two free throws with 8:27 left in the first half, to give the Eagles the lead they would maintain for the rest of the game. Thoman expanded the lead to 13, 6:23 into the second period, for the largest margin.

Despite leading for more of the game, the Boston College women's basketball team found St. John's University clawing back into the contest late. With 25 seconds left in the second half, sophomore guard Sky Lindsay hit a fast break three-pointer to narrow the margin to five. Ten seconds later, freshman guard Britney Murphy hit another three. BC inbounded the ball and managed to get through to an open basket, where sophomore guard Jaclyn Thoman completed a layup to put the game away with a final score of 64-68.

"At the end of the game, St. John's started to press us and came down and hit some unbelievable three-point shots and worked their way back into the game. We ended up winning by four points. It was an ugly win, but we'll take it," said Crawley.

A win is a win. This is the first time the Eagles have gotten this far in either tournament. That milestone is enough to have the players yelling and screaming and to give BC momentum and motivation.

"We had very balanced shooting [last night], very balanced scoring so it's hard for another team to figure out who to key in on," said Crawley. Nine of the eleven Eagles scored in the game, three in double digits. Murphy put up a game high 23 points, 10 rebounds, and three blocks, her second double-double in a row and sixth on the season. Swords contributed 10 points, nine rebounds, and five blocks. Thoman scored another ten points and had a block and steal.

BC outrebounded St. John's 43-32. The Eagles have only lost once this year after winning on the boards. "WE challenged them to take care of the boards and box out. I think Stefanie Murphy did a really good job of taking that to heart. She had eight offensive rebounds and a lot of second chance points," said Crawley.

As has been the case all season, the Eagles struggled with turnovers. They gave the Red Storm the ball 20 times, allowing St. John's to score 15 points. In their last game against Boston University, the Eagles turned the ball over 19 times. "That's been a problem for us all season, but we can't harp on it and we can't let that stop us. If we turn the ball over we have to continue to fight to pull the game out. Anytime you have 20 turnovers and win the game, you're doing something right," said Crawley.

The Eagles will continue to work on protecting the ball and breaking the press in preparation as they continue in the tournament. BC needs to eliminate the double-digit points their opponents are scoring off the rebounds to maintain their leads.

On Sunday, BC will face Georgetown University at Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill in the quarterfinals of the WNIT. This is the first time the Hoyas and Eagles have met since BC left the Big East in 2004.

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