Exactly two years ago Saturday, Boston College women’s basketball traveled to Worcester, Mass. expecting a win after beating UMass Lowell and St. Francis by an average of 40 points. Instead, Holy Cross put a damper on the Eagles’ promising start, beating the Eagles 80–71.
BC faced off against the Crusaders for the first time since that day on Saturday, and the players who were on the team two years ago had not forgotten about that game.
“This was definitely a redemption game for us,” Taylor Soule said after the game. “It was important to go out there senior year at home to play with confidence and really dominate them from the start.”
The Eagles did just that, earning redemption with a 75–50 win against in-state rival Holy Cross (0–2), preserving a perfect start for BC (2–0).
The first quarter saw some early-season nerves from both teams, as they combined for nine turnovers, plus multiple traveling calls on each team. The two teams traded baskets to begin the game before BC went on an 8–0 scoring run that drained nearly three minutes from the clock. Still, by the end of the quarter, Holy Cross had crawled back within four.
The nerves stayed active in the second quarter, as both teams struggled to get anything going on the offensive end and turnovers continued to hinder both teams. Holy Cross went without a field goal for the first four and a half minutes, and the Eagles did not hit a field goal until Soule attacked the rim with four and a half to play.
Soule continued to run BC’s offense with an and-1 layup that made the BC bench go wild. Despite the low-scoring period, BC increased its lead to 11 because Holy Cross only managed six points in the quarter.
The Eagles settled down in the third quarter, committing fewer turnovers and hitting the shots that the Crusaders left open. BC continued to capitalize on Holy Cross’ struggles from the field, holding the Crusaders to 11 points. Soule continued to shine with efficient scoring, capping off the third quarter with another high-impact play as she drained a buzzer beater from behind the arc that withstood a replay review.
Soule finished the game with 21 points of 9-of-11 shooting from the field.
The Eagles maintained control of the game throughout the rest of the second half despite returning to some of their early-game scoring struggles in the fourth quarter. BC showed strength on the defensive end, both on and off the stat sheet, finishing with 40 total rebounds as a team.
Holy Cross struggled all game with outside shooting, and BC head coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee adjusted accordingly by giving rim protectors like Maria Gakdeng and Andrea Daley a combined 47 minutes and placing them in the paint to stop Holy Cross from attacking the basket. The Crusaders finished with just 26 points in the paint.
“We started to dig up the pressure a little bit on the outside … and had more of a defensive lineup in … and our offense went down just a little bit,” Bernabei-McNamee said.
Gakdeng and Daley each finished the day with three blocks, but they contested countless Crusader layups and floaters. Marnelle Garraud also had a monster defensive game, swatting two shots and racking up five steals in addition to her nine assists.
Featured Image by Nicole Wei / Heights Staff