After a disappointing loss last week, the Boston College women’s basketball team looked to come back and win against the aggressive University of New Hampshire Wildcats on Sunday.
With both teams having a winning record, it was certain the game was going to be hard fought. Luckily for the Eagles, they were the ones to come out on top with a 64-58 victory.
UNH won the tip but the Eagles’ defense was strong and the Wildcats could not get the ball inside. BC turned the ball over on a travel but, after a blocked and stolen pass, senior Lauren Engeln was able to make a layup to give BC an early 2-0 lead.
Both teams maintained a fast pace and, after a layup by sophomore Kelly Hughes, the Eagles already looked like a different team from their last game.
After a short referee stoppage on the floor, BC’s defense came out strong, shutting down the UNH offense. Wildcat Kaylee Kilpatrick, however, found the holes and made it to the basket twice.
Freshman Ashley Kelsick made a major 3-pointer to make the score 11-8 BC with 13 minutes remaining in the half. With the rapid pace of play both teams answered the other’s shots but were unable to remain in control. Each side had elementary turnovers and committed multiple non-shooting fouls, which kept the scoring low.
Engeln put up a jump shot and a 3-pointer to give her team an 18-12 edge. UNH attempted to make a comeback with a 4-point run, but BC answered right away with 4 of its own.
The Eagles’ defense forced UNH to use the full shot clock three times towards the end of the half. This, combined with another 3-pointer by Kelsick, allowed BC to go into the locker rooms at halftime leading 31-26.
The UNH defense came out strong in the second half, forcing BC to eat up the shot clock. Freshman Katie Quandt was able to sneak in with four seconds left while drawing a foul to complete a 3-point play. Kilpatrick answered back and made a 3-pointer for the Wildcats.
The Eagles grabbed rebound after rebound, shutting down the UNH offense. “Our team rebounding is really important, especially on the defensive end, just limiting the other team to one possession, one shot each time down the floor,” said Hughes. With 15 minutes left, BC’s Martina Mosetti scored to make it 44-32, giving BC its biggest lead of the game. Kelly Hughes made a 3-pointer, while UNH struggled with their shooting.
The Eagles passing continued to be strong but the UNH defense suddenly became harder to break. This did not prevent Hughes and Kelsick from finding gaps, which allowed them each to make their jump shots.
UNH persevered, and with the help of Kilpatrick, got within four points of BC. After BC left Elizabeth Belarger wide open, the lead was only by two. It seemed as though the Eagles were going to throw away the game.
In the final minute, Hughes made a great grab off the board on the defensive end to gain back possession. She was immediately fouled and made UNH pay by making two free throws.
Coach Erik Johnson was satisfied with her play. “Hughes leads us in rebounding, she leads us in free throw shooting,” he said. “When she gets a board in the end of a key game and she’s the one they have to foul, it’s the best case scenario for us.”
Right after, Kelsick, and Nicole Boudreau were fouled and each made both of their foul shots. With this finishing push BC was able to capture a 64-58 win over UNH.
Hughes, Kelsick, and Boudreau all successfully scored in the double digits and were major factors to this win. It was this trio that gave the Eagles an edge. “We don’t have that one superstar,” said Hughes. “It takes a whole collective team effort every time we step on the floor.”
Johnson knows “We still had plenty of mistakes tonight but we fought hard enough,” he said. “We made enough good plays, we had enough good solid basketball to win a game down the stretch against a quality team.”
Featured Image by Arthur Bailin / Heights Staff