Boston College women’s basketball is used to conducting the majority of its business from beyond the 3-point line, but it spent most of Thursday night gutting it out in the trenches beneath the basket.
Freshman center Mariella Fasoula had been engaged in a battle in the post with the University of Notre Dame’s Brianna Turner all night, and offensively, Fasoula held an edge—she led all players with 20 points in the game. With only six minutes remaining in the game and BC trailing by 11, the Eagles forced the ball down into the post to Fasoula, as they had done most of the night.
But on this especially important possession, Turner had the upper hand. She pestered Fasoula and locked her down, forcing a three-second call to turn the ball over. After the whistle blew, Fasoula looked to the skies and bit down on the collar of her long-sleeve compression shirt, disappointed in her inability to convert.
Fasoula had done her best—and her best was quite impressive—but her efforts alone were not enough. No other Eagle finished with more than eight points as BC (12-4, 0-3 Atlantic Coast) fell 63-50 to No. 3 Notre Dame (16-1, 5-0) on Thursday evening.
Though BC was unable to clinch its first conference win in three tries following an impressive showing in non-conference play, there were many positives to take from a hard-fought battle with one of the country’s perennial powerhouses. In addition to his team’s general toughness and work ethic, head coach Erik Johnson specifically lauded Fasoula’s dominant effort in the post.
“Brianna Turner is one of the best players in the country, and so is Mariella,” Johnson said in an on-court interview broadcast to the 1,179 fans in attendance.
Considering the past two contests between Notre Dame and BC were each decided by more than 30 points in favor of the Fighting Irish, Thursday night’s meeting represents the strides that Johnson’s team has taken in just a few short years. Johnson recognizes that, and he’s proud of all that BC has accomplished, but the Eagles have a long way to go to reach the caliber of teams like Notre Dame.
“A game like this shows us how far we’ve come,” Johnson said. “We can compete with the best, but there’s still a gap.”
While BC’s post game shined against the Fighting Irish, the Eagles struggled with shooting the ball from outside the paint. All of BC’s points in the first half came in the paint—the Eagles did not convert on any of their three 3-point attempts, and they did not attempt a foul shot in the first two quarters. Kelly Hughes, Nicole Boudreau, and Martina Mosetti struggled against the Irish, scoring 11 points on 22 shots from the field combined. While Fasoula’s and Katie Quandt’s showings in the post were impressive, their efforts ultimately were not sufficient to make significant cuts into the Notre Dame lead.
Regardless, Fasoula made her presence known against one of the nation’s best teams. If she can continue to produce consistently at an elite level—and the Eagles can buy her some space in the paint by knocking down their outside shots—BC can make life hell for other top teams.
Featured Image by Elise Amendola / AP Photo