“Be strong Emma!” was all that could be heard from Boston College head women’s basketball coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee, as her powerful forward grabbed one of her eight rebounds. Emma Guy then absorbed all the contact placed upon her as she finished the and-one play.
Much of BC’s dominant performance on Sunday evening against St. Peter’s could be credited to the junior forward. Guy’s whopping 22-point showing guided the Eagles to a blowout 89-57 win over the Peacocks in their home opener, improving to 2-0 on the early season.
Guy started off rather slow due to some first-half foul trouble. It was her second-half play that truly allowed the Eagles to take off. Every touch Guy received was met with beautiful footwork and execution that even the greatest of basketball bigs would be jealous of. Anytime Guy had the ball in her hands, she had an impressive awareness of where the basket was in relation to her positioning, and thus had a leg up on her defender. One such moment came right at the start of the second half when point guard Taylor Ortlepp beautifully threaded the needle and sent a pass right past St. Peter’s center, Precious Featherson. Patiently waiting, Guy hauled in the pass and finished the play, marking the start of her second-half scoring spree.
“I think she played gritty and good, and had it not been for foul trouble I think she would have put up a 30-point game,” said Bernabei-McNamee on Guy’s superb performance.
When Guy was asked what allowed her to have such a strong second-half, she didn’t have to think twice before quickly saying that it was due to the “strong support of my teammates.”
In terms of support, Guy’s freshman counterpart, Taylor Soule, offered both a scoring presence, as well as vocal leadership. From blocking to rebounding to making the perfect pass, Soule did it all. After her 10-point performance against Rhode Island, Soule amounted to 16 points on the day—once again, her court presence was felt by all in attendance. The crowd began to “ooh-and-ahh” when the freshman made a backdoor cut and was gifted the perfect alley-oop pass. In mid-air, Soule seemed determined to finish the layup and found the basket behind the beautiful screen set by none other than Guy.
A mirror alley-oop play was seen at the end of the third quarter. With the clock winding down, Marnelle Garraud was struggling to find the open player. The Eagles’ bench began to chant the clock down from five and at this moment, Garraud found the soaring Clara Ford for an alley-oop of her own to give the Eagles a 68-43 lead. Whenever Guy came out, Ford would pick up her minutes and her scoring performance by issuing seven punishing points.
A major encumbering factor to the Eagles’ offense was the St. Peter’s press defense. Once the Eagles started pushing the ball toward the center of the court and stopped making foolish fundamental mistakes, the offensive explosion began. A handful of highlight-reel sequences resulted from press breakdowns. One of these was the give-and-go play between Makayla Dickens and Ortlepp. Another involving Dickens had her gliding with forceful grace down the middle as she finished with St. Peter’s guard D’Aviyon Magazine draped all over her. Dickens would miss her foul shot, but Soule rebounded the ball and found the ready-and-waiting Ortlepp inside the paint.
Albeit against weak non-conference opponents, the Eagles are showing a great deal of promise. All last season, BC didn’t win a single game by more than 23 points. The Eagles have eclipsed that scoring margin in each of their first two victories this year. Between senior leadership and vocal freshmen, this is a team that—despite experiencing a coaching change and roster turnover—is already gelling together.
Featured Image by Maggie DiPatri / For The Heights