Coming into Thursday’s game, Boston College and Louisville fans could reasonably expect a high-scoring affair. Both the Eagles and the No. 5 Cardinals rank in the top four scoring offenses in the ACC, averaging 76.8 and 74.7 points per game respectively.
While both teams rose to the occasion, Louisville pulled out a 81-70 victory as the Cardinals’ offensive firepower outmatched that of the Eagles. Louisville shot 58 percent from the field and a blistering 65 percent from beyond the arc. Louisville (17-1, 6-0 Atlantic Coast) collected its ninth straight win, while BC slipped to 2-4 in the Atlantic Coast Conference and 9-8 overall.
The game got off to a breakneck start in the first quarter, with both teams flying up and down the court in an effort to capitalize off each other’s turnovers and get early scores in transition. Louisville led by as many as seven points with only two minutes left in the quarter, but BC made the best of several Louisville turnovers to claw back to within one.
Louisville jumped out to another sizable lead by the mid-point of the second quarter as guard Dana Evans hit a 3-pointer to cap off a 7-0 run and put Louisville up 30-21.
From there, the game became a brutal call and response between the two teams. BC failed to get within seven points of the Cards, but Louisville was never able to open up more than a 15-point lead.
Every time that BC managed a brief run, Louisville mustered a timely three or a clever move to the basket that swatted away the Eagles’ energy. Momentum-killing 3-pointers from Evans, who scored 27 points including 7-10 from distance, were the theme of the night.
“I thought that we just lost [Evans] in transition,” said BC head coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee. “Four [straight] times and four threes, that was really tough.”
BC seemed poised to cut deep into Louisville’s lead at the beginning of the third quarter when Makayla Dickens hit a 3-pointer and followed it up immediately with a transition layup after a steal from Emma Guy. As usual, Evans was ready with a perfect swish from three and Louisville regained a comfortable lead.
Evans was there once again later in the quarter. Taylor Soule brought BC back within nine after she muscled her way to the basket for a tough layup, turning to hype up her teammates as the baseline ref whistled for the and-one. Evans calmly brought up the ball and silenced the BC bench with yet another three-point play.
Evans was far from the only offensive threat from the Cards. Guards Jazmine Jones and Yacine Diop, along with forward Kylee Shook, each scored 12 points for Louisville. Jones also dished out seven assists. Louisville employed three or four guards on the floor at all times, using their speed to constantly push the pace and find open looks from the perimeter.
BC produced an impressive offensive showing in its own right, shooting 48 percent from the field and 47 percent from three. The 70-point showing was particularly impressive given a stingy Cards defense that has held opposing teams to 57.2 points per game, a mark that ranks 38th nationally and third in the ACC.
Dickens was a force on the outside for the Eagles, trading triples back and forth with Evans and finishing with 20 points on an efficient 6-11 shooting mark. Guy battled her way to 19 points in the paint and was on the receiving end of a series of crafty entry passes from Dickens.
Cameron Swartz, BC’s leading scorer on the season, missed her second straight game with a lower leg injury. Despite her absence, the Eagles bench players stepped up admirably.
“I thought we had a lot of fight, and I thought every time I put somebody in off the bench, they were ready to play,” said Bernabei-McNamee. “That’s something that our team does. They have good chemistry with each other.”
Featured Image by Leo Wang / Heights Staff