WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Eagles Sustain Second 20-Plus Point Loss To Notre Dame
Published: Monday, February 17, 2014
Updated: Monday, February 17, 2014 02:02
Kayla McBride scored 19 points, Jewell Loyd scored 18, and the undefeated Notre Dame Fighting Irish coasted to an 82-61 victory over the Boston College Eagles. The loss marked the seventh defeat for the Eagles in their last eight games, and with its 24th consecutive win, Notre Dame set a new team record for the most wins to start a season. Prior to this, the previous record was 23, set by the 2001 national championship team.
The game was more competitive than the last time the two teams met, which resulted in a 95-53 victory for the Irish. Notre Dame showed signs of mortality for much of the first half against the Eagles, leading by only five points at the 6:55 mark thanks to the Eagles’ balanced scoring effort and good team defense. The Irish erupted on a 14-4 run to close the half, however, and put the Eagles down by 15 at the break. The Eagles never really recovered after that, coming out flat to start the second half en route to a 21-point drubbing.
The Eagles took their only lead of the game one minute in (2-0) thanks to Katie Zenevitch’s layup, but their lead was short-lived and by the 17:54 mark, they had surrendered it for good. Zenevitch and Kat Cooper were the Eagles’ most reliable scoring threats and finished with 12 and 13 points, respectively.
The Eagles played good defense and shot fairly well (51 percent compared to Notre Dame’s 53.6 percent), but struggled mightily to get off good shots in their half-court offense. The Eagles’ offense was frequently bogged down in the half-court thanks to Notre Dame’s stifling man-to-man defense, which routinely forced the Eagles to hold the ball deep into the shot clock where they would invariably turn it over or take an ill-conceived shot. As a result, the Eagles took seven fewer shots than the Irish on the night and turned the ball over a whopping 20 times.
A reason for the Eagles’ inability to deal with the Notre Dame half-court defense was their lack of 3-point shooting—the Eagles finished 3-16 from beyond the arc. In contrast, Notre Dame is statistically the best 3-point shooting team in the nation and used several big threes from Michaela Mabrey to pull away from the Eagles in the first half.
The unusually sparse attendance was in no small part thanks to the inclement weather that had besieged Chestnut Hill throughout the day and into the night. Conte Forum was so quiet that at times the Boston College bench was the loudest sound in the gym—head coach Erik Johnson and the rest of the bench loudly counted down the shot clock as the Eagles offense struggled to get a shot off versus the stingy Irish defense.