Sports, Winter, Basketball, Women's Basketball

Fourth-Quarter Push Fuels BC in Win Over Miami

January has been Boston College women’s basketball’s month. After winning six of its last seven games and coming off an upset win over No. 19 Notre Dame, the Eagles continued to ride their momentum into a Sunday afternoon matchup with Miami.

In its fifth ACC win of the month, BC (14–5, 5–3 Atlantic Coast) defeated the Hurricanes (10–7, 3–4) by a final score of 79–66. 

“I’m just really proud of this team for getting up for this game [and] sticking to the game plan,” head coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee said in her postgame press conference. “And on top of that, [we] played with a lot of poise.”

Adding to BC’s win, the Eagles celebrated National Girls and Women in Sports Day Sunday, which senior forward Taylor Soule reflected on after the game. 

“I think it’s just a great feeling to know so many people look up to you,” Soule said. “Whether it’s girls that are 8 years old, in high school, even just workers walking around—you mean something to not just the BC community, but the community outside of here that supports us.”

The Eagles were hot offensively right out of the gate and had built a double-digit advantage by the end of the first quarter. Soule and freshman Ally VanTimmeren fueled BC’s offense early on. 

A turnover-ridden start to the second quarter, however, brought Miami back into the game, and though BC eventually regained its offensive footing, the Hurricanes refused to let the Eagles pull away. Miami took its first lead of the game in the final seconds of the half, as Lola Pendande converted on a layup to beat the buzzer. BC’s grip on the game seemed to be loosening, and the Hurricanes were poised to take over in the second half. 

The third quarter played out slower than the first two. Both offenses stalled at times and struggled to generate much momentum. Neither team could find separation, and the fans in Conte Forum were bracing up for a nailbiter heading into the final quarter. 

The game’s turning point came with just over six minutes left in regulation. Up four points, guard Cameron Swartz was called for a charge, which, sensing a missed call, Bernabei-McNamee chose to challenge. The challenge was successful, and instead of the play being ruled as a turnover, Swartz was given two free throws—a critical momentum swing. 

From there, the Eagles went on a 10–1 run to put the game out of reach for Miami. With less than a minute remaining and BC up by 14 points, the Hurricanes resorted to intentionally fouling. 

As Swartz dribbled out the last few seconds of the game, the crowd rose to its feet in applause to celebrate the win. 

“[The fans] help us keep the momentum on our side, and when things aren’t going well for us, they give us that extra push,” Bernabei-McNamee said. “We envision [Conte Forum] to be filled and having this unbelievable basketball atmosphere in Conte, and it starts with games like this.”

In one of her highest-scoring games of this season, Soule led the Eagles with 23 points. Marnelle Garraud scored 14 points and knocked down four 3-pointers, while VanTimmeren had a breakout game, scoring 14 points and pulling in six rebounds. 

The Eagles connected on 56.3 percent of threes—a contrast from their 34.8 percent average. BC also performed defensively on the perimeter, holding the Hurricanes to only two 3-pointers.  

“You don’t want any games like today to slip,” Soule said. “I think we’ve done a really great job at learning from our past losses and growing every game.”

Feature Image by Nicole Wei / Heights Staff

January 23, 2022