Sports, Basketball, Women's Basketball

Eagles Drop Regular Season Finale to Syracuse

Boston College women’s basketball showed flashes of a resurgent end to the season in a narrow win over Georgia Tech on Sunday. It was only BC’s second ACC win of the season, but it seemed to put some pep in the Eagles’ step, and they brought that energy to the Carrier Dome on Thursday night against Syracuse. In BC’s last regular season game of the year, the Eagles hoped to turn Syracuse’s 13-point December victory over the Eagles into ancient history.

But the Eagles’ renewed fire wasn’t enough to close out the regular season with a win.

BC (6-11, 2-11 Atlantic Coast) dug itself into a rut to open up the game as Syracuse (12-6, 9-6) took off with an early lead, scoring 10 unanswered points in the first three minutes of play. That pattern continued throughout the game, and Syracuse pulled away steadily for a 92-75 victory.

Both teams sported pink jerseys in support of Play4Kay, which honors Kay Yow’s fight against breast cancer and aims to support and bring awareness to those fighting cancer. The cause hits particularly close to home for Syracuse’s Tiana Mangakahia, who was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer in 2019. Mangakahia underwent a successful double mastectomy, but she sat out the entire following season. 

Mangakahia stormed back onto the scene this season and was averaging 11.3 points per game entering Thursday’s game, where she added a team-high 19 points against the Eagles.

After the Orange took off in the early moments of the game, junior guard Makayla Dickens ended the Eagles’ scoring drought with a 3-pointer to put BC on the board. Dickens’ triple gave BC some momentum, which put the Eagles back into the game with a series of 3-pointers, ending the quarter down by only four points.

The second quarter was a gritty one. BC hung right with the Orange thanks to some timely threes, but the Eagles’ consistent turnovers were making the difference on the scoreboard. Through two quarters, the Orange had already banked 12 points solely off of BC turnovers, and Syracuse ended the second quarter up by 12. 

All together, BC coughed the ball up 21 times, and Syracuse wasn’t much better at hanging onto the ball with 17 turnovers. Syracuse turned in 21 points off of turnovers to BC’s 13. 

The Eagles tried to claw their way back in after halftime, starting off the third quarter in the midst of a 7-0 run, but Emily Engstler’s free throw put an end to the Eagles’ momentum, and the Orange pulled away with the lead again. After a 31-point third quarter, Syracuse went into the final break ahead by 16. Even so, BC recorded an efficient 27-point third frame, but the Eagles were no match for the Orange’s prolific offense.

In the fourth quarter, Syracuse held a consistent lead over BC and walked away with a 17-point victory. Despite the scoreboard, the Eagles played hard until the final whistle blew, which kept the game fast-paced and energetic for 40 minutes. 

Syracuse’s success came largely from the high volume of BC turnovers combined with the sheer amount of players putting up big numbers on the stat sheet. Syracuse had seven players with over eight points, most notably Mangakahia and Engstler with 19 and 18 points respectively. 

Taylor Soule and Dickens walked away with 23 and 20 points respectively. Such a stat line is no small feat, and it’s something that BC will look to replicate in order to stay competitive next week in the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, N.C. 

Featured Image by Ikram Ali / Heights Editor

February 25, 2021