Eagles Advance To NIT Final Four

The Boston College women continued their march through the NIT with a win over Georgetown Sunday night. The victory puts them in the semifinals where they will meet South Florida for a chance to play in the title game.

Boston College's women's basketball team defeated Georgetown University to head to the Final Four of the WNIT Sunday evening. The Eagles endured a nine-point run in the last quarter of the game and responded with their own for eight points, before winning the game 65-56.

It took the Eagles just four seconds to score for the first time. Junior guard Ayla Brown took control of the ball after the tip-off. She passed it to sophomore center Carolyn Swords, who laid it up for an easy two-point lead.

Georgetown turned the ball over on their first possession, but BC was not able to score. Sophomore forward Stefanie Murphy then blocked Georgetown's freshman forward Latia Magee's three-point attempt. The teams traded points for most of the first half, with eight lead changes. The Eagles settled in and went on a 9-2 run to finish the half leading 29-23.

Murphy recorded her second block in the opening minute of the second period, and the Eagles started the second half similarly to the first: with a layup by Swords assisted by Brown. BC led for the rest of the game, by as much as 12 points early in the half.

The Hoyas did threaten the lead late in the game with their nine-point run to pull within three points with six minutes left and again with 3:20 remaining. However, the Eagles responded nicely. Junior guard Mickel Picco drove towards the basket, when she was stopped by defenders, she passed the ball under the basket to Brown, who scored on a layup to start the 12-6 run with which BC ended the game.

"That was a huge play at a very critical point in the game. I think Picco tried to drive before and got her shot blocked, so she made an adjustment and made a different kind of play, luckily for us it landed in the right hands," said head coach Sylvia Crawley. "I tip my hat off to Picco who was not having the best shooting night, but was still able to make plays and give other people opportunities to score."

Picco was 2-19 on the night with four free throws. Her shooting was representative of the team as a whole. The Eagles shot 36.8 percent in the game, but were 88 percent from the line. While they were not shooting well, the Hoyas were just a bit worse with a percentage of 35.4. Picco and the Eagles scored what they needed to, but not a whole lot more.

Although the team's percentage was low, they did have three players score in double digits. Swords led the team with 16 points and Brown and Murphy followed with 11 and 10 respectively. Picco and sophomore guard Jaclyn Thoman were not far behind with nine and eight points.

Of the 36 shots they missed, the Eagles came down with 19 rebounds, allowing the Hoyas only 13. On the other side of the court, they grabbed 29 of the possible 42 boards. Both teams created many opportunities, which BC took advantage of, with 48 total rebounds in the game. Swords also led BC in rebounds with 10, for her second double-double of the season. Brown grabbed 8 of her own, making her the eighteenth BC player to have 500 rebounds in her career.

"There were a lot of shots to rebound tonight. We did not shoot very well from the three-point line, we were 1-17-that's probably a low for us. We had a lot of opportunities to get offensive rebounds. I thought our players did a great job of getting opposite of where the balls were coming off," said Crawley.

The Eagles have had success on the boards throughout the tournament. They grabbed 148 rebounds, allowing opponents only 83. BC has only been outrebounded six times this season. Only once have they lost after winning on the boards.

Three of the four teams in the Final Four have now been decided. The last game takes place Monday between New Mexico and Kansas, the winner of which will play Illinois State in one semifinal. BC will play the University of South Florida in the other semifinal on Wednesday. The winners will face in the finals Saturday.


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