Sports, Basketball, Women's Basketball

Eagles Just Miss Comeback, Fall to NC State

It’s the end of the road for Boston College women’s basketball—well, in the ACC tournament at least. To end their deepest conference postseason run in more than a decade, the Eagles (20-12, 11-8 Atlantic Coast) fell to NC State (27-4, 14-4), but a near comeback, single-digit loss to a team ranked No. 2 in the ACC and No. 10 in the country is not to be taken lightly. 

ESPN’s Charlie Creme’s Bracketology agrees—after beating No. 3 Duke in the quarterfinal round, BC found itself in Creme’s “Next Four Out” of the National Championship bracket. And if BC has any chance of making it, statisticians will have to look at the impressive run the Eagles have had in one of the strongest conferences this year. 

After tying the program record of seven ACC wins in a single season back in mid-February, the 2019-20 Eagles smashed the record books, recording 11 wins in the conference, including a sweep of Notre Dame for the first time ever. BC then beat Clemson and upset Duke in the quarterfinals of the tournament, but a prolific NC State offense ended the Eagles’ historic run.

Though BC heads back to Chestnut Hill empty handed, the Eagles made NC State earn its spot in the title game. BC battled back from multiple 20-point deficits to make it a single-digit game, but NC State held tight to its lead and came out on top 82-75. The Wolfpack will take on Florida State, who recently upset No. 1 seed Louisville in a 62-60 thriller. 

The first score of the fourth quarter—a layup by Jada Boyd—put BC down by 22, its largest deficit of the game. But after winning their last game on a 14-0 run in the final quarter, the Eagles were in familiar territory. BC slowly chipped away at the lead, but the teams went nearly point-for-point throughout the final 10 minutes, and BC couldn’t get any closer than seven. 

It helped that BC went 5-of-8 from distance in the final quarter alone, four of which came at the hands of Taylor Ortlepp. Ortlepp finished the game with 14 points, due in majority to her 3-point ability in the waning minutes of the game. 

The only Eagle to outscore Ortlepp was none other than Emma Guy, who put up 19 points in the loss. The Penfield, N.Y. native also managed seven rebounds and two steals.  

Marnelle Garraud, on the other hand, had a slow night under the rim. Though she got the starting nod, she recorded just eight points and one steal, which is out of character for the player with the second-most steals in the ACC. 

BC began the game hot and led for all but about a minute in the first quarter. A 3-pointer from Kai Crutchfield at the buzzer cut BC’s lead to one, and the Eagles went to the break ahead by the skin of their teeth. 

The second quarter told the exact opposite story: NC State took the lead 10 seconds in and never gave it up, expanding the cushion to as much as 18 before the break. The Wolfpack was helped on in the second quarter by a 60 percent 3-point shooting clip, which had turned into an impressive 45.5 percent by the end of the game. 

NC State maintained its lead after the half and once again broke the scoring open. But that is not to say that BC didn’t do its fair share of work. 

One minute into the third quarter, Ortlepp took an uncontested jumper from the free throw line, and it rattled off the rim. Guy elevated to grab a well-contested rebound, and before her feet had even touched the ground, she was back up for a beautiful layup to cut the Wolfpack lead to 51-34. 

In the final quarter, it looked for a while like NC State would run away with the game, but BC has never been a team to shy away from a comeback. The Eagles battled for every point the lockdown Wolfpack defense would give them, but it seemed like too little too late. 

Ortlepp broke away with just over 10 seconds on the clock after Makayla Dickens grabbed a defensive rebound. Dickens hucked it to Ortlepp over the midline, and Ortlepp pulled up for a 3-point jumper. Her shot fell, but with under 10 seconds to go and a seven-point deficit, the Eagles were just out of reach. 

Featured Image by Aneesa Wermers / Heights Staff

March 7, 2020