This week has been test after test for Boston College women’s basketball against some of the best in the Atlantic Coast Conference. After Thursday’s hard fought loss against No. 5 Louisville, BC headed south to face another of the ACC’s top teams.
The Eagles (10-8, 3-4 Atlantic Coast) proved up to the test, edging past Georgia Tech (14-4, 5-2) by a score of 55-48. BC never trailed in the game.
The game was a clash between opposing strengths for the two teams. BC came into the game with the second best scoring offense in the ACC, while the Yellow Jackets are tied for the nation’s best scoring defense.
BC’s balanced offensive attack ultimately proved too potent for the Yellow Jackets. While the Eagles’ 55 points are more than 20 below their season average, it was nevertheless an impressive offensive performance against a lockdown GT defense that has held ifs opponents to a measly 48.8 points per game.
BC came out firing early. Guard Makayla Dickens hit a 3-pointer only four seconds into the game, and BC quickly built a substantial 12-3 lead. Emma Guy was dominant in the first quarter, scoring a pair of layups off perfect entry passes from Cameron Swartz.
Georgia Tech fought through shooting woes all afternoon, making only a pair of its 20 attempts from distance and shooting 25.9 percent from the field.
Despite their scoring struggles, the Yellow Jackets fought hard all game and never let the Eagles open up a comfortable lead. Georgia Tech responded to the Eagles’ fast start with a run of its own, and the first quarter ended 17-15 in BC’s favor.
BC started hot in the second quarter as well, riding more stellar plays from Guy and a series of Georgia Tech turnovers to earn a 28-15 lead. Again, Georgia Tech refused to let its offensive struggles get the best of it, clawing back to cut the Eagles’ lead to six by halftime.
The Eagles were plagued by foul trouble all afternoon. Guy and guard Marnelle Garaud each picked up a second foul early in the second quarter, and BC head coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee chose to sit them for much of the period. They both picked up a third foul right after halftime and were benched again.
With Guy and Garraud sidelined, the Eagles needed someone to step up offensively in the second half. Taylor Soule eagerly filled the role, dominating the boards as she picked up six points in the third. She finished with a team high of 13.
Jasmine Carson and Lotta-Maj Lahtinen led the Yellow Jackets with 10 points and three steals apiece.
Despite their ability to overcome poor shooting in the first half, the Yellow Jackets’ brief flashes of comebacks were disappearing down the stretch. The Eagles finished the third quarter with a 10-point lead and seemed poised for an easy victory when they led 52-39 with only 3:10 left.
Just as the game’s conclusion seemed beyond doubt, Georgia Tech’s dominating defense came alive. The Yellow Jackets’ full-court press gave the Eagles trouble, and GT took advantage of a series of turnovers to cut the deficit to four with 45 seconds left.
Jaelyn Batts came up with a huge block with eight seconds left for the Eagles, and Dickens hit a free throw to seal the game.
The return of Swartz, who was sidelined for the last two contests with a leg injury, was huge for BC. She scored nine points and was very effective at getting the ball to Guy and Soule in good positions down low. Her impressive comeback performance was cheered on by a personal fan section as she took advantage of playing so close to her hometown.
BC’s impressive performances against some of the ACC’s best bode well for the team to turn a corner as it heads deeper into conference play.
Featured Image by Maggie DiPatri / Heights Editor