For the first seven minutes of its game on Wednesday, Boston College women’s basketball seemed to be in for a long night. A team that entered the day at an impressive 6-1 looked like it had come out for a casual pick-up game. You know the type, where everyone is generally decent at basketball but no one has touched a ball in a few months, and it shows.
The Eagles turned the ball over on three of their first four possessions. While the first two were on attempts to get the ball inside to freshman center Mariella Fasoula, who was named ACC Rookie of the Week on Monday after a stellar 23-point performance on 11-of-15 shooting in a tight 58-56 win over Purdue last Thursday, the last one was ugly. After giving up a layup to the University of Hartford Darby Lee for the first points of the game, neither Martina Mosetti nor Ella Awobajo noticed Hawks forward La’Trace Hall sneak in from behind and snag the ball away on the in-bounds, prompting BC head coach Erik Johnson to fly out of his seat and make some quick substitutions.
They didn’t pay immediate dividends, as the Eagles picked up three more turnovers, missed eight shots, and found themselves down 5-0 after those long seven minutes. Eventually, though, BC (7-1) managed to turn it on, flipping a switch and dominating Hartford (4-4) en route to a 62-28 win.
For that switch, you could thank Emilee Daley—the game’s leading scorer despite coming off the bench—who put up 14 points in 21 minutes. You could thank Kelly Hughes, who was the only other player in double digits and just about always puts up a performance worthy of praise.
But tonight, the player to look at was Kailey Edwards.
Her statline won’t immediately pop out—honestly, no one player really stuck out for BC. Daley and Hughes generally come with an eye-catching, 3-point prowess, but even they didn’t separate themselves from the crowd. All but one BC player tallied double-digit minutes and pulled down at least one rebound. All but two made at least one shot and had at least one assist. It was even easier to tell when watching the game, as just about everyone touched the ball on each possession.
“When you’re frustrated, when we turn the ball over five times in the first few minutes, we haven’t even scored a point yet, a lot of teams would start pointing fingers or start trying to save the day themselves or ‘I gotta get mine,’” Johnson said. “None of those things happened with this basketball team.”
Even as great of a team effort as it was, it was Edwards that got things rolling.
She came off the bench four minutes into the game as part of a quick, consistent subbing pattern that Johnson called characteristic of this team. She got two nice offensive boards and missed a jumper in her first three minutes of action, but she finally made her significant contributions with three minutes left in the first quarter and BC down 5-0.
She grabbed a defensive rebound off a missed Hartford jumper and marched the ball down the floor. After a few passes around the arc, she got the ball back, got inside, and drew a foul to get to the line. She only made 1-of-2, but it got BC on the board. The Eagles got a stop on defense, and on the next play, she made a picture-perfect pass from the arc to a cutting Nicole Boudreau, who sunk an uncontested layup—a fluid play that would be repeated a lot in the next 30 minutes.
“A lot of it has to do with our point guard play, it’s been really, really good lately,” Daley said. “They’ve just been looking up and waiting instead of trying to speed things up. We’ve just been playing at our pace.”
BC’s pace has been a good one, as the 7-1 start is the best for the team since it began 11-0 in 2010-11, and the team even received three votes in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll that came out on Tuesday. Of course, the Eagles have yet to face any ACC action, a lineup of teams that will boast not only higher levels of skill, but physically taller competition—Hartford’s tallest player is just 6-foot-1, and the Eagles still struggled at times to find either Fasoula or fellow center Katie Quandt down low. But at other times, they managed to turn their ball movement into very open looks and great shots, of which the ‘Splash Sisters’ (Hughes, Boudreau, and Daley), as well as the rest of the team, will be eager to take advantage.
The defense was even more impressive on the night. Though Hartford missed some shots it could have made, the Eagles didn’t give up many good looks and certainly played a big role in holding their opponents to 20 percent from the field. They used their height advantage well to dominate the rebound battle, 55-23, and even more impressively didn’t send the Hawks to the line once, another great testament to how well Johnson’s team defended its opponents’ shots.
With another one of the defense’s many stops after Boudreau’s lay-in, Edwards got the ball back for a third straight possession on the left side. This time, she drove hard to her left down the baseline and picked up another foul. She sunk both, tying the game at five.
Although Hartford’s Deanna Mayza made a three at the other end to temporarily retake the lead for the Hawks, BC continued on a 26-4 run in the next 12 minutes, quickly putting the game far out of reach and never sinking back to its opening effort.
Though the level of competition will rise, BC has proven it can adjust and find ways to improve in short-term situations. If it can continue to build upon that foundation, the Eagles can expect to receive some more attention and votes in the weeks to come.
Featured Image by Savanna Kiefer / Heights Editor