Boston College women’s basketball proved its grit Thursday night as it faced the University of Pittsburgh’s scoring machine, Stasha Carey. Shutting down a team’s best player is no small feat, but it was one that the Eagles (13-5, 1-4 Atlantic Coast) achieved, albeit with a significant amount of effort. Conte Forum was bursting with heavy doses of energy and passion as onlookers watched the Eagles fight to stop Pittsburgh’s (8-11, 0-6) progression. BC women’s basketball took on the Panthers in a messy, back-and-forth game of turnovers, mistakes, and missed shots. BC head coach Erik Johnson phrased it best in the post-game conference.
“[This game] fits in the category of winning ugly, but one of the things that I’m most proud of with this team is that we have the ability to win ugly,” he said. Despite the gritty performances on both sides, BC carved out a victory, with the final score coming in at 54-43.
The night began with an explosive BC run, putting the Eagles up 10-0 by the fifth minute of the game, though the Panthers fought their way back to a tied game at 17-17 by the end of the first quarter. Carey, Pittsburgh’s central power forward, led the Panthers on the warpath to retake the night, notching 21 points as the halftime buzzer sounded. The key to the Eagles’ victory was stopping Carey in her tracks—shooting 6-of-6 in the first quarter and 9-of-11 in the second, Carey was limited to only five more points for the remainder of the game.
“I think you gotta credit a couple of individuals, we changed some matchups,” Johnson said. “They were able to get some good helps,” Johnson said.
Looking at individual player stats, Johnson’s assertion rings true. Each BC starter scored six or more points over the course of the night, with point guard Kelly Hughes racking up 17 points between her 14 shots. Her performance at BC has grown as time passes—in the past three games, she averaged 16.3 points total. Beyond Hughes, both Martina Mosetti and Ella Awobajo notched career highs in points, with nine and seven respectively. At every corner, each BC player picked up the slack where the group had weak moments.
Despite the win, the Eagles also struggled in many areas.. The game was plagued with turnovers at every corner—BC with 18 (11 in the first half) and Pittsburgh with 19. The battle of the boards also ended fairly evenly—Pittsburgh edged BC in total rebounds, 35-34. Butit was the Panthers’ offensive rebounding that kept them in the game for so long. Most notably, each side failed to effectively convert fast breaks on several occasions, leading to many sloppy layups throughout the night.
With such a scrappy offensive performance, defense decided Thursday night’s result. BC held Pittsburgh to a remarkable three points. Compared to the double-digit scoring by Pittsburgh in every other quarter, this was an impressive effort by BC. Hughes credited her entire team with this outcome.
“We’ve relied on our defense,” Hughes said “It paid off tonight.”
As the fourth quarter buzzer sounded, it was clear that spirits were high among the Eagles. Thursday night’s defeat of Pittsburgh is their first ACC win, after four losses to start the conference slate. Their problems are not yet over—Johnson admitted that his team had many problems and still needs extensive work. Yet, after a stretch of losses, a victory is a breath of fresh air for a team that started on such a high note.
“We won on toughness, we won on defense,” Johnson said. “I’ll take an ACC win tonight.”
Featured Image by Julia Hodgens / Heights Staff