The first year of the Joanna Bernabei-McNamee era was a tale of two halves for Boston College women’s basketball. The Eagles got off to a blazing start in non-conference play and entered the ACC slate 11-2 before struggling and ultimately losing nine games in a row to finish the season at 14-16. Nevertheless, the 14 wins represented the most victories that BC had accumulated in a season since 2015-16, and the Eagles have the pieces to continue that upward trend in 2019-20.
Every significant contributor from last season, including Emma Guy—who led the team in scoring—and Makayla Dickens, the then-true freshman who was thrust into the starting point guard role, is back. Furthermore, with another offseason in Bernabei-McNamee’s up-tempo scheme, BC should be better-equipped to handle the rigors of the ACC schedule.
Tuesday, the Eagles released their full 2019-20 schedule, one which includes a home-and-home series with Notre Dame, which has reached the last two National Championships, and Louisville, which earned a No. 1 seed in the 2019 NCAA Tournament.
2019-20 Schedule (Note: Italics denote conference play)
Nov. 5 vs. Massachusetts Lowell (Chestnut Hill, Mass.) *Home Opener
→ In its season opener, BC takes on the River Hawks for the first time since the 2015-16 season. The Eagles are 3-0 all-time against UMass Lowell and won, 66-55, the last time the teams met, thanks to 12 points from Mariella Fasoula.
Nov. 10 vs. St Francis College Brooklyn (Chestnut Hill, Mass.)
Nov 13. at Holy Cross (Worcester, Mass.)
Nov. 17 at Providence (Providence, R.I.)
→ In the final contest of a two-game road swing, BC travels to Providence, seeking revenge against the team that gave the Eagles their first loss of the season last year. The Friars finished 2018-19 three games above .500 and made the third round of the WNIT before losing to Georgetown.
Nov. 21 vs. Rhode Island (Chestnut Hill, Mass.)
Nov. 24 vs. Virginia Commonwealth (Chestnut Hill, Mass.)
Nov. 27 vs. Charlotte *Puerto Rico Classic
Nov. 28 vs. Tulane *Puerto Rico Classic
Dec. 4 at Northwestern (Evanston, Ill.) *ACC/Big Ten Challenge
→ In their first ACC/Big Ten Challenge contest since 2016-17, the Eagles will take on the Wildcats, who made it all the way to the championship game of the WNIT last season. BC holds an all-time record of 2-3 against Northwestern but hasn’t played the Wildcats since the 2012-13 season.
Dec 8. At Duke (Durham, N.C.) *Start of ACC Play
→ In its ACC opener, BC travels to Durham to face the Blue Devils. The Eagles played one of the most memorable games of the season against Duke in 2018-19. Makayla Dickens hit a buzzer-beater at the end of regulation to send the game into overtime, before sinking another shot as time expired in double overtime, this time to beat the Blue Devils, 92-90.
Dec. 15 at Boston University (Boston, Mass.)
Dec. 20 vs. Delaware State (Chestnut Hill, Mass.)
Dec. 29 vs. North Carolina State (Chestnut Hill, Mass.) *ACC Home Opener
Jan. 5 at Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
Jan. 9 at Notre Dame (South Bend, Ind.)
→ When BC travels to Notre Dame, it will certainly be an interesting benchmark of how far the Eagles have developed in Bernabei-McNamee’s second season. Star guard Arike Ogunbowale is no longer with the team, but Notre Dame still remains a top contender in the ACC, and the gap between BC and the Irish last season was considerable. In the two games the traditional rivals played last season, Notre Dame won by 29 and 50 points.
Jan 12 vs. Virginia (Chestnut Hill, Mass.)
Jan. 16 vs. Louisville (Chestnut Hill, Mass.)
→ Louisville, which smacked the Eagles, 87-51, in 2018-19, represents another intriguing test for BC. Asia Durr, who poured in 23 points when the teams met last February, is now in the WNBA playing for the New York Liberty, but the Cardinals still have a host of talent, including Jazmine Jones—she scored 17 points against Notre Dame in the ACC Championship last season.
Jan. 19 at Georgia Tech (Atlanta, Ga.)
Jan. 23 at Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, Va.)
Jan. 30 at Florida State (Tallahassee, Fl.)
→ The encounter with the Seminoles marks the conclusion of a three-game road trip for the Eagles—a sequence that is tied for BC’s longest stretch away from home in 2019-20. Last season, the Eagles played FSU at home, and Guy notched a double-double with 24 points and 12 rebounds, but BC still fell to the then-No.21 Seminoles, 91-71.
Feb. 2 vs. Wake Forest (Chestnut Hill, Mass.)
Feb. 6 vs. Syracuse (Chestnut Hill, Mass.)
Feb. 9 at Clemson (Clemson, S.C.)
→ In 2018-19, the Eagles played arguably their worst game of the season against the Tigers. BC shot just 29.6 percent from the floor, allowed Clemson to shoot 59 percent and make 9-of-12 3-pointers, and trailed, 29-14, after the first quarter. The game wasn’t close the rest of the way, and the Eagles wound up losing, 91-58.
Feb. 13 vs. Notre Dame (Chestnut Hill, Mass.)
Feb. 16 vs. North Carolina (Chestnut Hill, Mass.)
Feb. 20 vs. Pittsburgh (Chestnut Hill, Mass.)
Feb. 23 vs. Miami (Chestnut Hill, Mass.)
→ The conclusion of a four-game home stretch, the Eagles will likely want redemption after the way last year’s game against the Hurricanes ended. BC held a four-point lead entering the final quarter, but three missed 3-pointers in the final 30 seconds, as well as a costly five-second violation, spelled doom for the Eagles, who lost, 76-73.
Feb. 27 at Louisville (Louisville, Ky.)
Mar. 1 at Syracuse (Syracuse, N.Y.)
→ Just like in 2018-19, BC will take on Syracuse in its season finale. The Orange also swept the Eagles last season, though Guy seems to always have a career day when she plays against Syracuse. She totaled 48 points and 23 rebounds in the two meetings between the teams last year.
Featured Image by Celine Lim / Heights Editor