Last February, Emma Guy’s last-second game-winning layup sealed a season sweep of Notre Dame. It was the first time in program history that Boston College women’s basketball had won all of its games against Notre Dame in one season, and it showed the ACC that BC means business.
The Eagles won’t get the chance to repeat the sweep, however, as they suffered a 10-point loss in South Bend on Sunday. Despite hitting a season-high 13 3-pointers, six of which came at the hands of Marnelle Garraud, the Eagles (5-7, 1-7 Atlantic Coast) fell to Notre Dame 83-73.
The Fighting Irish (7-5, 5-3) put on offensive clinics in the second and fourth quarters, scoring 27 and 28 points respectively, which ultimately put BC in a hole nearly impossible to dig out of. The Eagles nearly put together a comeback, but Notre Dame’s late surge locked in the victory for the home team.
BC’s 3-point shooting has been a challenge for the Eagles all season, though they’ve improved steadily game by game. Against Notre Dame, the Eagles shot 54.2 percent from beyond the arc, which was not only a nearly 20 percent improvement from the Eagles’ previous game, but was even better than their 41.2 percent shooting from the floor against the Irish.
After the first quarter, BC led 18-14 on 4-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc and 46.67 percent shooting from the field. Even so, it took the Eagles a couple of minutes to get going. Two minutes into the game, the Eagles put their first points on the board with a well-defended 3-pointer from Makayla Dickens.
Ally VanTimmeren, still just weeks removed from high school, put up six points off the bench, but she wasn’t the only one who showed up in a big way. Thirty-six of her family members, friends, and high school teammates made the two-hour drive from Jenison, Mich. to South Bend to cheer her on in just her fifth collegiate game.
Her two points and one steal in the first quarter helped give BC a leg up at the first break, but Notre Dame came out firing on all cylinders in the second quarter. The Irish went on an early 12-2 run to take a commanding 31-24 lead and force BC head coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee to call a timeout and regroup.
Notre Dame continued to dominate after the timeout, heading to the locker room at halftime up 41-33. BC struggled all game long to find an answer for Notre Dame’s Destinee Walker, who came off the bench to score 20 points, the second most on her team.
Though BC still struggled to contain Walker after the break, the Eagles seemed to have made some key halftime adjustments. Garraud and Dickens continued to hit 3-pointer after 3-pointer, and the Eagles suddenly found themselves tied with Notre Dame at 49 apiece with four minutes left in the third quarter.
After three periods, thanks to a stellar 10 minutes by the Eagles, Notre Dame only led by two points. Whatever halftime adjustments BC made, however, paled in comparison to the Irish’s shift between the third and fourth quarters. By the midway point of the final period, Notre Dame had gone on an 11-1 run, taking a 70-59 lead over BC. The Irish held a double-digit lead for the remainder of the game, shutting down BC’s hopes for a second consecutive season sweep.
BC had just three players hit double-digit scoring, and no Eagles recorded more than 18 points. Dickens and Garraud each scored 18 points to lead the Eagles, and all 18 of Garraud’s points came from 3-point range. Taylor Soule had 15, Cameron Swartz had seven, and VanTimmeren had six.
Despite winning a 64-61 contest over Notre Dame earlier this month, the Eagles couldn’t string together a win on the road and fell to the bottom spot of the ACC, since Duke and Virginia each concluded their seasons early.
Featured Image by Kait Devir for The Heights