Sports, Basketball, Women's Basketball

Swartz Ties Scoring Record With 39 In Win Over Clemson

Sarah Behn has held the Boston College women’s basketball record for the most points scored in a single game since she scored 39 points against Georgetown on Jan. 13, 1993 to break her own record of 38. That record remained untouched for 29 years, until Sunday, when Cameron Swartz exploded for 39 points of her own to tie Behn in the record books.

“Someone [during the game] told me ‘You’re two points away from the record.’ I was like ‘Oh shoot,’ but we’ve got to go to the next game,” Swartz said. “It just leaves room for drive and to continue to get better.”

But before looking to their next game, the Eagles (11–4, 2–2 Atlantic Coast) get to enjoy a win after beating Clemson (6–9, 0–4) by a score of 80–74 in a back-and-forth game. It was another scoring clinic for the Eagles, who continue to show that they are a serious competitor in the ACC. 

Swartz took little time to begin her quest of tying the record, scoring BC’s first nine points of the game. Not only was Swartz’s offensive game looking smooth, but the entire BC offense looked in sync, with Makayla Dickens and Marnelle Garraud also hitting shots early. Scoring hasn’t been an issue for the Eagles all season, as they lead the ACC in field goal percentage at 48 percent and shot 50 percent on Sunday.

“You can’t keep us out of the gym,” Swartz said. “I think that’s what’s helping us see the ball go in the hoop, and that results in made shots. It’s pretty simple.”

While shooting was going BC’s way, protecting that ball was not, as the Eagles had given up 14 turnovers at the half and 24 in the game. Clemson continued to make mistakes of its own, however, from wide-open missed layups off turnovers to miscommunications on screens that led to offensive fouls. That, combined with BC’s aggressive defense against Clemson’s Delicia Washington, resulted in a steady lead for the Eagles. 

Maria Gakdeng, who had been quiet for most of the first half, scored with 1:30 left in the second quarter, marking the beginning of another solid game from her after a career night against Syracuse on Thursday. She finished Saturday night’s game with nine points, eight rebounds, and five blocks. 

Whenever it looked as if the Eagles were going to pull away, the Tigers came right back and cut the lead back down to single digits. But each time, BC regained its composure and maintained its lead.

“That’s what basketball is,” head coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee said in her postgame press conference. “It’s a game of runs.” 

A Swartz 3-pointer gave the Eagles a 40–31 lead at the half and marked her 21st point of the game.

“When they had their little runs today, we stepped up, and we were really strong about not letting them go back and continue that run, but instead, to stop that run,” Swartz said.

The back-and-forth action continued into the second half, with Clemson giving BC plenty of scares. A sequence from Gakdeng displayed her strong post moves and saw her block Clemson’s Amari Robinson on the other end with 23 seconds left to give BC momentum heading into the fourth quarter. 

Swartz tied her personal career high when she scored her 35th point of the night to extend the Eagles’ lead to 10 with just over eight minutes left to play. In the end, it wasn’t BC’s offense that won the game, but its defense, as it didn’t allow Clemson to score during a crucial two-minute stretch near the game’s final minutes. 

“I think our confidence feeds into us playing competently and making sure that we learned a lot again about end-of-game stuff,” Bernabei-McNamee said. “We have to make sure we don’t play for fouls, and we have to continue to play gritty on the boards.”

Swartz, along with her record-tying 39 points, went 14-of-20 from the field, and her 14 made field goals are tied for the second-most in a single game in program history. Swartz also tied her personal high with nine rebounds. 

“I always want to feed her,” Bernabei-McNamee said. “That’s one of the things that’s great about our team—you never really know who’s truly gonna step up because we have many players capable of playing big roles.” 

Featured Image by Aditya Rao / Heights Staff

January 10, 2022