Sports, Basketball, Women's Basketball

Eagles Top Syracuse to Close Out Regular Season

In the early moments of Sunday’s game against Syracuse, Boston College women’s basketball displayed all of the elements that has made its offense one of the top in the ACC: clever defense, speedy transition offense, and sharp 3-point shooting. Up 3-0 after a 3-pointer on the first possession from Makayla Dickens, Marnelle Garraud poked the ball away from Syracuse point guard Kiara Lewis. Garraud tried to find a cutting Dickens, but Lewis elevated to deflect the pass. Securing the loose ball, Garraud flew up the court and dished to a waiting Taylor Ortlepp, who calmly nailed a 3-pointer. 

BC (18-11, 11-7 Atlantic Coast) closed out the regular season with a huge offensive performance, beating Syracuse (15-14, 9-9) 88-81 and securing a first-round bye in the upcoming ACC tournament.  

The Eagles’ sixth-place finish in the ACC is their best since the 2008-2009 season. BC will play on Thursday against the winner of the Clemson-Miami first-round matchup. The winner of that contest will face Duke in the quarterfinals. 

The Eagles returned to form after a blowout loss last week to Louisville, who clinched the ACC regular-season championship and a ticket straight to the quarterfinals of the conference tournament. Florida State, Duke, and NC State round out the top four in the ACC and will also all automatically earn a spot in the tournament’s quarterfinals. 

BC got off to a hot start, jumping out to a 15-4 lead just two and a half minutes into the game. Ortlepp, who returned to the starting lineup after coming off the bench against Louisville, scored three times on BC’s first four possessions.

Ortlepp put up an incredible performance in her final regular-season game. She played 37 minutes, scored 18 points, connected on four 3-pointers, and dished out five assists, all of which were season-highs.

Despite BC’s success in the opening minutes, Syracuse quickly clawed back into the contest. The Orange hit a trio of 3-pointers in the final two minutes of the first quarter, and the Eagles went into the break up only 29-26. 

BC bounded out to another lead in the second and held a 39-32 advantage at the midpoint of the period. But Syracuse responded again, and the game entered halftime tied at 45.

Neither team was able to gain an advantage in the third quarter as they traded buckets back and forth without more than a three-point lead at any point. 

BC was finally able to regain its early-game form as the game progressed deep into the fourth quarter. Ortlepp nailed a 3-pointer with 2:31 left to put the Eagles up 83-75, and Taylor Soule sealed the game with a layup.

Soule was clutch all afternoon for the Eagles. She was on the floor for all but one minute of the game, scoring 26 points and grabbing six offensive rebounds.

Syracuse guards Lewis and Gabrielle Cooper led the Orange with 18 points apiece, and Emily Engstler chipped in 12 boards. The Orange finished the regular season ranked eighth in the ACC and will face Virginia in the second round of the ACC tournament. 

Cameron Swartz performed well coming off the bench, hitting a pair of 3-pointers and scoring 10 points. Swartz’s scoring is a good sign for the Eagles, as she has struggled shooting over the last several months after a hot start to the season.

Featured Image by Kait Devir / Heights Staff

March 2, 2020