Women's Basketball

Skid Hits Six as Turnover-Plagued Eagles Fall to ‘Cuse

On one possession late in the second quarter, Andie Anastos missed an open 3-pointer off the front rim. Syracuse grabbed the defensive rebound and worked the ball down the court and around the perimeter before finding an open shot in the corner. This time, the ball hit nothing but net.

The 30-second snapshot provided an apt summary of Boston College women’s basketball’s game Sunday afternoon against Syracuse. The Eagles were ice-cold from 3-point range, shooting 0-for-8 in the first half and missing several open shots. Meanwhile, the Orange, paced by Digna Strautmane and Gabrielle Cooper’s combined seven 3-pointers, shot over 50 percent from downtown in the first half, allowing it to pull away in the second quarter and roll to a 75-57 win.

For most of the first quarter, BC (6-15, 1-7 Atlantic Coast) had a clear strategy—get the ball down low to Emma Guy and Georgia Pineau for some easy baskets. The two teamed up to shoot 6-of-6 without attempting a single shot outside the paint, keeping the Eagles in the game, as they trailed by just three after the first 10 minutes of play.

The game remained close at the start of the second, as the Eagles continued to feed Guy and Pineau in the post. The duo continued to find success, scoring BC’s first six points of the quarter. Yet after the last of these three baskets—a Guy layup that cut the Syracuse (17-5, 5-4) advantage to just two—three consecutive 3-pointers from Strautmane and Cooper stretched the lead back to 11. The Orange went on the run behind a full-court press defense that forced five BC turnovers in the second quarter alone. The Eagles scored just four points the rest of the half, entering the break trailing by 14 and in dire need of a spark on both sides of the ball.

Syracuse methodically extinguished any hopes of finding that spark in the third quarter, though, steadily creating further distance on the scoreboard. After yet another missed open 3-pointer by Milan Bolden-Morris, the Orange hit eight of its next 15 shots—including a trio of 3-pointers—extending its lead to a game-high 25 points near the end of the third. BC drilled a pair of 3-pointers and made 7-of-8 free throws in the quarter, but Syracuse’s full-court press forced four more turnovers and continued to cause issues. By the time the quarter ended, the Eagles were staring at a 63-41 deficit with almost no hope of a comeback.

In the fourth quarter, Syracuse finally cooled off from deep, going 0-of-6 in the period. The sharp decline in production from beyond the arc allowed the Eagles—who employed a full-court press of their own—to cut the Orange lead to 15 points with just over four minutes remaining. They never got any closer than that, though, as Syracuse managed to finish the game cleanly.

Pineau led BC’s effort on the offensive end, scoring 17 points and pulling in nine rebounds, while Guy chipped in 15 points, marking the third time in the past four games that the forward reached double figures. Perhaps the one bright side from yet another dispiriting ACC loss for the Eagles was the tandem’s performance. Both clearly showed the ability to be valuable contributors on both ends of the floor. Unfortunately for BC, one of the duo’s best games all season was ultimately wasted by a poor perimeter shooting night.

The big headline, ultimately, was the Eagles’ struggles from beyond the arc, as they shot just 22.2 percent from long range. Bolden-Morris followed up a scoreless day against Duke with just 10 points, hitting just 2-of-8 from 3-point range. Additionally, Taylor Ortlepp’s 11-point effort was plagued with missed 3-pointers, as she finished 1-for-6 on the day. One could argue that some of the missed open shots were simply unlucky. Several 3-pointers went in and out, or just barely caught the inside of the rim, resulting in BC head coach Erik Johnson seeming optimistic afterward.

“I thought we were ready to shoot,” Johnson said. “We just didn’t knock them down tonight.”

But for the Eagles to start winning games, they don’t just need to be ready to shoot, they have to knock them down.

The balanced scoring—four players finishing with double-digits in points—was offset by limited bench production, as they managed just four points. The Eagles were also undone by 16 turnovers, a season-long problem that has to be fixed if they want to climb out of the ACC’s cellar. As today’s game proved, for BC to have a shot the rest of the way, it’ll need every player to produce.

Featured Image by Celine Lim / Heights Editor

January 28, 2018