Sports, Basketball, Women's Basketball

Swords, Holy Cross Hand BC Surprise Setback

In the second quarter, Boston College women’s basketball point guard Makayla Dickens couldn’t break up a pass and gave up a layup down low. On the ensuing inbound, Holy Cross’s Avery LaBarbera stayed behind to defend the inbound, and Dickens—out of frustration—shoved LaBarbera and picked up a foul, after which she was immediately subbed. Then, in the third quarter, BC’s Emma Guy picked up an offensive foul—her fourth of the game—and headed to the bench for a substitution.

Guy walked the length of the bench, took a turn, and stood at the end for a moment with a vacant gaze in her eyes. It was just that kind of night for the Eagles against their in-state rivals.

BC racked up fouls left and right and an already-depleted bench couldn’t withstand Holy Cross and Megan Swords, who led for all but 38 seconds of Wednesday night’s game in an 80-71 win.

Swords totaled a career-high 21 points and added 14 rebounds for the Crusaders (1-1), who led by as much as 19 in the second half and held the Eagles (2-1) scoreless for the first six-plus minutes. Swords was one of five players to reach double-digits, with Avery LaBarbera and Jenay Faulkner both chipping in 16 points.

BC started a woeful 0-of-7 from the field, digging an early 6-0 hole, and the Eagles didn’t get much better from there. After routing St. Francis Brooklyn in their last game, piling up 106 points, BC regressed mightily and shot just 38.3 percent, missing eight free throws in the loss as well. Milan Bolden-Morris managed 17 points, hitting four 3-pointers, but the Eagles were just 7-of-22 from distance as a team.

Foul was the word of the day for head coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee’s side as BC recorded 31 personals in the defeat. Guy, usually a post stalwart, was limited to just two points in 17 minutes, picking up four fouls and turning it over four times. Georgia Pineau filled in admirably with 12 points on an array of post moves, but she fouled out, as did Jaelyn Batts and Cameron Swartz.

Layups from Faulkner and Lauren Manis, as well as five quick points from Madelyn Smith, paced the hosts to an early 9-1 lead. The Eagles looked lost in their halfcourt sets and only really found success in transition, mustering a mere eight points in the quarter after going 3-of-14 from the field and turning it over nine times. Holy Cross built a nine-point lead, but it could have been much worse.

Manis, who was largely quiet despite coming off a 20-point, 21-rebound performance in the Crusaders’ season opener against Illinois, rattled off five points at the start of the second quarter to stretch Holy Cross’s lead to double digits. BC started to find its offensive footing, though, using a 10-4 run to close in on its hosts. Then, at the end of the half, Bolden-Morris sunk a 3-pointer and added two free throws to cut the lead to just four at the break, 33-29.

Despite missing guard Taylor Ortlepp to injury and losing Taylor Soule—she was banged up in the first quarter then left shortly after returning to the game—there was hope the Eagles could shake the sloppy first half. That hope very quickly escaped Bernabei-McNamee’s team, though, as Holy Cross opened the third quarter on a 9-2 run that featured four points from Faulkner. Then, after BC responded to close it back to five, Swords scored six points in guiding the Crusaders to a 13-1 run that put the game out of reach.

Swartz had four quick points for BC to close the third quarter, but it had dug too much of a hole. The Eagles outscored Holy Cross, 23-17, in the fourth frame, but the Crusaders kept a healthy lead and went on to win by nine points. It was just Holy Cross’ 10th win in 39 tries against its Massachusetts neighbors, handing BC a humbling defeat.

Granted, the Eagles were without Ortlepp and saw Soule go down, but BC still committed a plethora of sloppy fouls, was outrebounded by nine, struggled at the charity stripe, and looked out of sorts throughout the game. It was an unexpected loss, considering the Eagles averaged 97 points in their first two games, and it was one that spoiled BC’s chance for a second straight 6-0 start under Bernabei-McNamee. The Eagles will have to have a short memory, though, as they face a Providence team on Sunday that’s 2-0.

Featured Image by Aneesa Wermers / For The Heights

November 14, 2019

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