Before Thursday night, Boston College women’s basketball had only beaten Florida State once—in the ACC tournament in 2010. But in a season where all its conference wins have come on the road, BC (11-9, 4-5 Atlantic Coast) capitalized on turnovers on Thursday to edge out No. 14 FSU (17-4, 6-4) for the first time in a decade.
The Eagles needed to limit turnovers to try to shut down the deadly No. 14 FSU offense. After last season’s 20-point blowout loss, BC needed to make moves early to make its presence known. After the Seminoles had a shaky start, the Eagles were able to pull ahead early. But the lead didn’t last long. In a bid to disrupt BC, six straight points from Kiah Gillespie and Morgan Jones quickly dashed the Eagles’ lead.
The key to the Seminoles’ runaway points was turnovers at the hands of BC. While the Eagles needed to limit their turnovers, they have averaged 17 a game throughout the season, a trend that allowed the Seminoles to grab some easy points.
BC wasn’t ready to give up just yet, however. Emma Guy and Cameron Swartz were able to break away from their defenders for a pair of layups and 3-pointers, regaining BC’s lead. While the Eagles had a two-point lead heading into the second quarter, the biggest driver for the Seminoles was the turnovers that were going in their favor.
Despite the turnovers, the Eagles were able to narrowly keep their lead as the half wound down, while the Seminoles were having trouble connecting with the basket.
In addition to their troubled shooting, the Seminoles weren’t moving around the court, which allowed for an easy defensive effort for the Eagles. Guy was all over the court for BC. Creating the majority of the Eagles’ scoring opportunities, she easily swerved past her defenders to connect with the basket.
Two free throws made by Taylor Soule put BC five points ahead, but a 3-pointer by Sammie Puisis cut the lead to two. The Eagles weren’t fazed, though, and responded with their own 3-pointer at the hands of Taylor Ortlepp. BC was faster than the Seminoles, and it paid off: The Eagles entered the second half four points ahead of their ACC rivals.
The Seminoles opened up the second half with an explosive effort, quickly equalizing the score. While it seemed that they were about to surpass BC, a 3-pointer by Makayla Dickens put the Eagles back ahead.
BC carried its speed into the second half, and the Seminoles couldn’t keep up. The largest lead of the night came as the third quarter was coming to its close, after six straight points by Ortlepp brought BC’s lead to nine.
Halfway through the quarter, FSU caused four turnovers, a clear shift in the tide since the first quarter, where BC was causing the majority of the turnovers. The Eagles capitalized on the errors and continued to run all over the Seminoles’ defense, hitting 67 percent on their 3-point attempts. The Eagles kept their momentum throughout the quarter, with Guy posting six more unanswered points, ultimately heading into the final quarter six points ahead of the Seminoles.
FSU came into the final quarter with something to prove. Four straight points put them within shooting distance of the Eagles, but a free throw by Soule gave BC a little bit of breathing room.
Halfway through the period, Guy and Soule were leading the Eagles straight past the Seminoles. Throughout the period, FSU showed glimmers of possibilities to pull away, but every time it made some noise, the Eagles were right there to respond. Heading into the final media timeout, a lucky 3-pointer by Marnelle Garraud put the Eagles ahead by nine. Her shot initially looked as though it was going to miss completely, but it hit the board at just the right angle to have it fall through the net.
With under one minute left, the Eagles were six points ahead and seconds away from beating their ACC rivals for just the second time in program history. The Eagles just needed to wind down the clock, and the importance of the final minute was clear for both teams. As the time wound down, the pressure got to the Seminoles, leading to missed shots. The Eagles capitalized on these errors and managed to edge out their ACC rivals by nine points, defeating FSU 65-56.
Featured Image by Leo Wang / Heights Staff