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Positives Found In Loss To Duke

Heights Editor

Published: Sunday, February 12, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01

The Boston College women's basketball team (5-19) fell 71-62 on Thursday night at Conte Forum to the No. 5 Duke Blue Devils (20-3), failing to overturn a scoring deficit kept close until the final two minutes. In a game where the Blue Devils led consistently by single-point margins, the Eagles played well until the end, finding positives to draw from a frustrating loss.

"We definitely can compete with anyone in the ACC, we proved that to ourselves tonight. We have to build on what we did tonight," said head coach Sylvia Crawley.

At the beginning of the first half, the Eagles came out ready to compete, matching Duke's intensity early.

"I think their mentality for the last two days, they just felt like we've got nothing to lose. Nobody is expecting or believing that we can win this game, so they were determined to get an upset tonight," Crawley said.

This was seen early as the team maintained its composure. The Blue Devils, who tried to open up a large scoring gap early on, struck a quick two-point basket immediately after the tip-off, and applied a strong press against the Eagles that lasted throughout the entire game. The Eagles fought back, though, with forward Katie Zenevitch scoring the first seven points for the team to match Duke's quick pass-shoot plays to center Elizabeth Williams. The Duke center finished 9-of-13 with 18 points, creating a difficult matchup for the Eagles all night long.

Though the Blue Devils stretched their lead to nine points with five minutes left in the first half, a crucial shot by forward Kristen Doherty initiated a strong finish to the half for BC. She finished the game with 21 points, eight points of which came in the final five minutes of the half, cutting Duke's lead to just 32-31 as the teams headed into the locker room. Along with being the BC's leading scorer, Doherty also finished with a team-leading five rebounds, and was a key component of the Eagles' effort.

In the second half, the Eagles and the Blue Devils kept the score close, with neither team managing to pull away. Williams continued to cause difficulties for BC inside the paint, but Kerri Shiels would answer. Right as Duke began to gain a large lead, Shields, who went 0-for-4 on three-point attempts in the first half, sunk a vital three-point shot that kept the Eagles alive.

With 11 minutes remaining, the Blue Devils sank three three-point shots in a row, but the Eagles continued to answer their opponents, cutting the Duke lead to four. The BC defense began applying more pressure, closing in on Williams in the paint and forcing its opponents to pass around the perimeter to search for shooting opportunities.

As the clock wound down and the score stayed close, the crowd began getting into the game, going wild as shots from Zenevitch and guard Tessah Holt brought the score to 61-60 with just under three minutes remaining.

The Eagles fell apart in the final two minutes, though, with the Blue Devils putting up 10 points that were answered only by a single field goal from BC. Duke finished the second half 6-for-7 on threes, which made the difference in a closely fought matchup.

Going forward, Crawley sees a lot of positives for the team based on Thursday night's contest.

"I thought our kids executed the game plan very well tonight. We said leave it all out there on the court and see what happens. I'm pleased with their effort tonight," Crawley said.

"Our players know that they can compete against Virginia Tech, they can compete against Clemson, just because they were able to do what they did against Duke tonight."

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