With four Boston College women’s basketball players hailing from Virginia, Sunday afternoon’s game served as a sort of homecoming. The quasi home-court advantage, however, did not play out in BC’s favor.
Virginia Commonwealth (5–2) survived a furious comeback attempt from the Eagles (6–2), snapping their four-game winning streak and taking Sunday afternoon’s matchup by a final score of 69–65.
“We know how to get stops in the first quarter,” forward Taylor Soule said. “We know how to communicate on defense, but we just didn’t do it in the first half.”
BC stumbled out of the gate, turning the ball over seven times in the first quarter alone. The many turnovers prevented the Eagles from fully igniting their offense, but some stingy defense kept the game within reach after one quarter.
VCU came out firing to start the second quarter and pushed its lead all the way up to nine. Poor ball security and sloppy passes resulted in numerous lost offensive opportunities for BC and granted the Rams easy scoring opportunities.
“Every opportunity we have to score, you have to be able to get a shot off,” head coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee said. “Our possessions were 58 to 43 today. It’s hard to win when you give another team that many more opportunities than you have to score.”
The Eagles entered halftime with a one-point lead. The second half, however, was when VCU appeared to put the game to rest.
After trading blows through the first minutes of the half, VCU seized momentum midway through the third quarter and restored its nine-point advantage with under 15 minutes to play. Bernabei-McNamee called for a timeout hoping to regain control of the game, but the opposite ensued.
Following a BC 3-pointer, the Rams went on a 13–2 run that extended well into the fourth quarter, bringing their lead to 17 points. VCU was poised for a resounding victory, but Soule refused to let her team go down quietly.
With Soule struggling recently on the offensive end, Sunday’s game appeared to be more of the same after the Rams held her to six points through three quarters. Soule exploded for 14 points in the game’s final five minutes, however, scoring some tough baskets through several defenders.
“I know I’ve had a rough time on the offensive end in the last couple games,” Soule said. “I knew I had to step it up.”
Her fourth-quarter performance pulled the Eagles within five points. BC seemed primed to complete a comeback win, but junior guard Jaelyn Batts missed a critical late free throw that effectively sealed the game for the Rams.
Aside from her 20 points, Soule also collected eight rebounds, though her otherwise strong stat sheet was blemished by eight turnovers. Sharpshooter Makayla Dickens was BC’s leading bench scorer, with 15 points on 5-of-11 shooting. With that tally, Dickens became the 30th player in BC history to score over 1,000 career points and the second Eagle to have joined the club this season—the first being Soule. As a team, BC shot more efficiently than VCU, but its 30 turnovers allowed the Rams to take 14 more shots.
“We need to come out in the first three quarters with that kind of fight,” Bernabei-McNamee said. “There’s no reason for us to wait to turn up our intensity and our focus.”
Featured image by Aditya Rao / Heights Staff