In the span of three days in early December, Boston College athletic teams beat Notre Dame three times (including twice in Indiana)—twice in men’s hockey and once in men’s basketball. On Thursday night, it was BC women’s basketball’s turn to take down its rivals in South Bend.
The Eagles (9-6, 2-2 Atlantic Coast) headed to Notre Dame after splitting their last two conference games—a loss to NC State and a victory over Pittsburgh. BC was clearly on the hunt to get back to .500 in the conference, and a hard-fought, nose to the grindstone kind of battle brought the Eagles just that.
BC entered Purcell Pavilion after a close fight against Pittsburgh, and the Eagles showed the same grit and intensity against the Fighting Irish (6-10, 1-3 Atlantic Coast).
Taylor Soule registered a staggering 19 points to lead the Eagles, and Cameron Swartz followed closely behind with 14. Soule’s effort was also good enough to register a double-double, hitting double digits in rebounds as well with 12. Thanks to a strong offensive effort from the entire team, the Eagles will head home to Chestnut Hill with a 75-65 win.
Rebounding proved to be essential for the Eagles, as all five starters notched at least two, including 12 from Emma Guy. She came up clutch with three rebounds in the last four minutes of the game to ice the win for the Eagles. Her 12 rebounds and 11 points earned her a double-double as well.
Soule opened the game with the first three points for the Eagles, but Notre Dame was quick to counter and take the lead. A 3-pointer by Kayla Dickens gave BC some breathing room, but it couldn’t rest yet.
BC went down by as much as five in the first quarter but fought back to tie the game up before the first break at 22-22. Four straight points from the Eagles in the form of jumpers from Guy and Swartz gave the Eagles some momentum heading to the bench.
The game kept its back-and-forth swing for the entirety of the second frame as well, with the Eagles going up by as many as five points or down by four within the span of a few minutes. The Eagles took their largest lead of the half after Jaelyn Batts’ jumper made it 37-32, but a layup from Notre Dame with 25 seconds left kept the Fighting Irish within three.
Though it looked like the margin of victory for either team would be razor thin during the first two periods, BC broke the game wide open in the third quarter. In that period, the Eagles outscored the Irish 26-14, with nearly half of BC’s points in the frame coming from Soule.
BC took over on offense and became a well-oiled machine, executing full-court buildup plays that capitalized on rebounds and Notre Dame’s turnovers. The Eagles forced six turnovers against their opponents in the third quarter, contributing to the team’s 21 total points after Notre Dame coughed up the ball.
The Eagles took their largest lead of the night at 17 when BC swung the ball from sideline to sideline and set up Swartz to knock down three points from behind the arc. Notre Dame countered, but the Eagles went into the final break with a 15-point lead and no signs of slowing down.
The Fighting Irish tried to claw back and close the gap in the final minutes of the game, but the Eagles kept them at arm’s length. A fastbreak layup and-1 for Swartz early in the quarter set the tone for the Eagles and showed that they had the game under control. The Eagles gained control on Notre Dame’s baseline as Swartz made a break for the bucket, and Notre Dame had no choice but to foul her. An acrobatic shot at the last second made a layup a potential three-point play, and Swartz capitalized on her free throw.
Though BC came in with the advantage in its record, any win over Notre Dame, particularly a double-digit one, is a bold statement to make. The Eagles showed resilience, and a standout third quarter proved that a never-give-up attitude is all it takes to break a game wide open.
Featured Image by Michael Caterina / AP Photo