WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Sinking Ship
Published: Monday, February 3, 2014
Updated: Monday, February 3, 2014 03:02
The Boston College women’s basketball team lost an away game against Pittsburgh this past Thursday, 67-65. The defeat, a collapse, was BC’s fourth consecutive and the team’s sixth overall against a conference competitor.
The contest itself was decided in the last three seconds of play. With time quickly winding down, Pittsburgh guard Brianna Kiesel gave her squad the final two-point lead, sidestepping BC’s Lauren Engeln, dipping into the key, and making a runner. BC was unable to respond with a score, as a desperate 3-pointer from Engeln clattered off the back of the rim. In the end, Pittsburgh seized victory in the Iron City with a gentle floater.
Although Pittsburgh ultimately won the game, BC had held the advantage through most of the contest. With 13:29 remaining in the first half, senior forward Kristen Doherty made a layup to take the lead for BC, 12-11, and until the tying shot before the game winner—another teardrop from Kiesel with 45 seconds left—the lead was not relinquished. For a solid 32 minutes and 44 seconds, the Eagles were ahead.
The lead was maintained for so long mostly because of consistent shooting from both the field and the foul line. In the first half, BC was dominant in both categories. The team made 11 of 21 shots and 11 of 11 free throws. As a result of this shooting expose, BC led Pittsburgh 37-27 by the conclusion of the first 20 minutes.
After halftime the quality of the team’s shooting declined, but the drop in production was truly minimal: BC made 21 of 44 total field goals and 15 of 16 total free throws by the end of the game.
Among the top contributors to these first and second half totals was sophomore guard Nicole Boudreau. Boudreau, who had made only six of 32 shots in the previous three games, delivered a tremendous offensive performance. The guard made three of six 3-pointers and was perfect from the foul line, collecting four points.
Still more offensive contributions came from other members of the starting lineup. While Boudreau threatened from the perimeter, Doherty and Engeln provided support from within the arc. Doherty made three of nine shots, six of seven free throws, and notched four assists, and Engeln made six of 12 shots and dished three assists.
Additionally, junior starter Kat Cooper made an impact early in the game—making a 3-pointer and two free throws, between 8:45 and 8:16, to give the BC squad its first double-digit lead: 25-15.
Players off the bench generated even more offensive activity. Foremost among these playmakers was freshman guard Kelly Hughes. The 3-point specialist put on an exhibition of her shooting prowess during the game—making arcing shot after arcing shot. Of her six attempts from outside, she made four.
Although the BC squad was able to perform well offensively, issues arose that prevented the team from maintaining the lead and earning the win. BC struggled with turnovers throughout the game. Largely due to miscommunication and some shoddy passing, the squad lost possession of the ball 20 times—seven more times than the opposing team.
Pittsburgh remained tough throughout the game, challenging the BC squad consistently and determinedly. This toughness was demonstrated in the final moments of the second half, when, with 34 seconds remaining in the game, guard Loliya Briggs drew a charge from Doherty, giving her team possession of the ball and an opportunity to take the lead.
Additionally, Pittsburgh’s offense proved difficult to stymie. Bruising forward Asia Logan led both teams in scoring during the contest with 24 points—nine coming at the foul line. Starter Ashlee Anderson contributed 11 points and four assists, and Kiesel, who scored two points in the first half, sparked the team’s second half surge, scoring 14 points in the contest’s final 20 minutes. The performances of these players significantly limited the point differential between the two squads, and ultimately enabled Pittsburgh to defeat a competitive BC team.
“I am very, very proud of this team. … [Kiesel] is patient, she passes the ball … and she picks her moments—and none bigger than tonight when she hit the game winner,” said Pittsburgh head coach Suzie McConnell-Serio. “When they keyed on her, Asia Logan had the opportunity to step up and have a tremendous game tonight.
“Every player made plays … It was just a great team effort, and I couldn’t be more proud.”