Steph Curry decided to show up in the first half, and he came in the form of Nicole Boudreau. For what seemed like the entire first half, Boudreau dazzled the crowd and sank shots from all over the place. She nailed six 3-pointers and dished out four assists during the opening half to give Boston College a six-point lead. Despite the impressive performance, North Carolina did not give up. The Tar Heels took control of the game early in the fourth quarter and never looked back.
Nicole Boudreau’s performance: The senior guard was the clear star for the Eagles today. Head coach Erik Johnson praised Boudreau for the less obvious aspects of her game.
“She’s a very dangerous shooter, but she’s an excellent passer,” Johnson said. “She took care of the basketball for us and she defends the other team’s best player. It would be hard to imagine asking a lot more out of a kid.”
The 3-point shooting was obviously an impressive display, but as Johnson suggested, she is a well-rounded player and she has a relentless drive. Throughout the 36 minutes she played, she seemed to have an unlimited amount of energy. Even the greatest basketball players sometimes take a play or two off, but Boudreau refused to offer anything less than 100 percent while she was on the court.
Ball movement: The Eagles recorded an impressive 21 assists on 29 field goals, displaying selfless basketball. While Boudreau certainly deserves credit for shooting well, her teammates also deserve credit for finding her and knowing when to pass her the ball. Crisp passes and sharp cuts allowed Boudreau to find open looks, and every starter had multiple assists.
“We ended up having 21 assists to 12 turnovers,” Johnson said. “We moved the basketball extremely well.”
Dominant Second Quarter: The first quarter was relatively even, but the Eagles played their best quarter of the night in the second. BC outscored North Carolina 24-14 in the quarter, and the depth of the Eagles was a large factor. While the Tar Heels only used six players during the entire game, the Eagles went with a 10-woman rotation. The fresh legs of Kailey Edwards and Emilee Daley combined for seven points in the quarter. Surprisingly, the additional depth did not help BC in the fourth quarter, but it had a huge impact in the second.
3-Point Shooting (Besides Boudreau): The Eagles only converted four of the 20 3-point attempts that were taken by players not named Boudreau. Missing that many deep shots can be extremely problematic because it allows the other team to grab easy rebounds and transition quickly down the court for easier baskets. This problem became significantly worse in the fourth quarter, as BC only converted one of its 11 11 3-point attempts. Too often, the Eagles settled for deep shots and did not attack the basket. These short possessions allowed North Carolina’s defense to rest and failed to expose its lack of depth.
Points Off Turnovers: While the quantity of the turnovers for BC was not bad, the impact of the 12 giveaways was critical. “The turnovers that we made were bad,” Johnson said. “They were in bad positions. We gave them some possessions that we can’t defend.” The Tar Heels scored 20 points off of the 12 turnovers, including eight in the fourth quarter alone. BC’s offense was stagnant in the fourth quarter largely because it consisted of mainly deep 3-pointers and turnovers. That is certainly not a winning formula.
Second Chance Points: Allowing second-chance opportunities drives coaches insane. The Eagles allowed 16 second-chance points, failing to box out and control rebounds at times. The Tar Heels consistently drained mid-range shots, and some of these opportunities existed because of the 11 offensive rebounds that North Carolina recorded. While the Eagles actually grabbed 15 offensive rebounds themselves, they only scored 11 points because of them. North Carolina’s ability to efficiently convert second chances was a key to victory.