Women's Basketball

Shorthanded Eagles Can’t Keep Up Against Fighting Irish

“You don’t worry about what you don’t have and you coach what you got.”

– Erik Johnson

Three. The fans lean forward in their seats. Two. The bench slowly rises in anticipation. One. Swish. “We made a 3-pointer! We made a 3-pointer!” a group of little girls shout in the stands after Emilee Daley sinks a 3-pointer with one second left on the shot clock during the first half. Throughout the afternoon, players and fans alike tried to stay positive as their team battled to keep up with a powerful No.4 Notre Dame.

The Boston College women’s basketball struggled from the start as the Fighting Irish scored easy points. With Kat Cooper and Nicole Boudreau out, and Lauren Engeln off the team, the remaining Eagles had to sharpen their talons and come out ready to fight. Even with increased aggression, the BC squad was plagued by fouls, turnovers, and benched players as it fell to ND 89-56.

After ND won the tip Michaela Mabrey, the Fighting Irish’s top scorer, made a 3-pointer within seconds. ND coach Muffet McGraw could not have been more satisfied. “I love when she starts the game that way,” McGraw said. “She was really looking for a shot today and she did a great job.”

Daley put the Eagles on the board with a three of her own. After this it was a constant game of catch-up for BC. The Fighting Irish’s defense was strong and stole multiple passes on the Eagles’ offensive end. Holes were apparent in BC’s defense and allowed ND to slide through with ease.

Daley and Kelly Hughes wanted to keep their team in the game and quickly scored five points. The Fighting Irish’s Mabrey had no problem answering, making the score 19-10 with 12 minutes left. The fast pace allowed the Eagles to be more aggressive but they committed four fouls early on that they would regret later on.

The Fighting Irish stole pass after pass and capitalized every time, making it a 30-10 game. BC attempted to stop ND but racked up more fouls in the process. This gave the Fighting Irish the 1-and-1 advantage with a little over nine minutes left. With players in foul trouble early on, it seemed like BC would have to sub players off of its already limited bench.

According to coach Erik Johnson, his team stayed positive. “You don’t worry about what you don’t have and you coach what you got,” he said. “When the players see you reacting to ‘oh we got a short bench, oh we need to change our game plan,’ then they start thinking about it. But you know what, you don’t worry about it we just go.”

The Eagles took this aggression and soared to grab every rebound on the defensive end. Alexa Coulombe was the first BC player to break past ND’s defense and into the paint, allowing her to score the Eagles’ first layup of the game.

With two minutes left in the half, BC finally found its rhythm. The team successfully completed passes and made shots but the Fighting Irish had no problem answering. ND walked into the locker room at halftime with a comfortable 51-24 lead thanks to BC’s 15 turnovers.

The Fighting Irish’s Taya Reimer started off the second half with a layup, which Ashley Kelsick answered immediately with a jumper. After Daley dodged wide to the corner and drained a three, it seemed like the Eagles might make a comeback. The team came out aggressive but the run’s excitement caused three players to commit rapid fouls.

While ND continued to effortlessly break through BC’s defense, the Eagles discovered that they could beat the Fighting Irish defense on breakaway plays. After two steals and completed breakaway lay-ups by Kelsick and a three by Hughes, ND decided to slow down the pace.

Even with their 32-point lead, the Fighting Irish did not back off. Marti Mosetti got open and completed three jumpers in the last minute in order to make the 89-56 loss a little less painful. The Eagles committed 23 fouls and caused 26 turnovers, but even with these mistakes the team is proud of today’s game.

“What’s both hard and fun about playing Notre Dame is they’re an image of our team in the future,” Johnson said. “For those players I can preach all I want but until you get out on the court and you start to feel it, that’s when the growing really starts to happen. I really believe we took some steps today. Scoreboard may not show it but I’m excited about what we got in the future.”

Featured Image by Arthur Bailin / Heights Editor

February 9, 2015