After Boston College women’s basketball’s matchup against Virginia on Thursday night, head coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee said that BC’s first-half performance left room for improvement.
“It was a conundrum of bad decisions on top of bad shots,” Bernabei-McNamee said in her postgame press conference.
But despite recording its lowest shooting performance of the season—converting on 26.3 percent of its field-goal attempts—BC (15–7, 6–5 Atlantic Coast) scored 24 points in the third quarter to power past Virginia (3–16, 0–9) and win 65–57. The win is BC’s first over the Cavaliers since the 2013–14 season.
“We played a rough game today,” Bernabei-McNamee said. “It wasn’t indicative of how I think we usually play. It was so bad, I thought ‘We can’t possibly continue to shoot this poorly.’ I didn’t think we made great decisions in the first half either.”
The first half ended with the Eagles trailing by nine after committing eight turnovers and 11 fouls in the first 20 minutes. BC finished the first half 6-of-28 from the field and 3-of-12 from three, with 10 of its 25 points coming off free throws.
The Eagles came back onto the court in the second half with fresh legs and renewed spirits.
“I knew that no matter what, we were not going to lose this game,” Cameron Swartz said. “It was in all of our minds, and it was definitely driving us.”
With its renewed energy, BC started the third quarter on a 10–0 run, capitalizing on turnovers and drawing fouls. The Eagles shot 42.9 percent from field-goal range in the third quarter—over double that of the second quarter.
“I think that the most important thing is to stay poised,” Maria Gakdeng said. “I’m glad we were able to get it together in the second half—being disciplined on defense and getting it done on offense.”
Swartz led the scoring for the Eagles with 18 points, while Gakdeng finished the game with five blocks and a career-high 16 rebounds to lead BC in both categories.
“Maria’s got a good wingspan and good coordination,” Bernabei-McNamee said. “Her timing is an art.”
Bernabei-McNamee said that although she believes Thursday’s game wasn’t the Eagles’ best performance, an ACC win is still an ACC win, and BC will look to build off its momentum from the victory.
“For us, I think, to not play our best and still come out with an ACC win, I think that shows a lot of growth for our program and not something we would have been able to say in the past,” Bernabei-McNamee said. “Every ACC win is a cherished thing here because it is such a great conference, so we were happy to be able to come out with a win.”