Entering Tuesday night’s matchup against Pittsburgh, ESPN listed Boston College women’s basketball as one of the “Last Four In” for the NCAA tournament. With five ACC games left in the regular season, BC took on Pittsburgh looking to help lock in its spot and snap a 16-year tournament drought.
After a slow start, BC (16–9, 7–7 Atlantic Coast) walked away with a 69–57 victory over the Panthers (11–14, 2–12), moving one step closer to a tournament bid.
Pittsburgh jumped out to an early 12–0 lead, holding the Eagles scoreless for the first seven minutes before a Cameron Swartz 3-pointer got the Eagles’ offense moving.
The Eagles combined for eight turnovers over their scoreless stretch. Taylor Soule, BC’s leading scorer, failed to provide her usual spark in the first period, making one fast-break layup and shooting 1 of 4 from the field.
“We were a little bit sleepy,” BC head coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee said in her postgame press conference. “Sometimes that comes from a day off. We’re used to playing on Sunday—this was our first Tuesday game of the year.”
The momentum changed in the second quarter, though. Soule returned to her usual form, going 6 of 8 from the field and scoring 13 of the Eagles’ 17 second-quarter points. She finished the game with 26 points.
The Eagles made two consecutive steals on inbounds passes to cap off an 11–1 run that put BC up by one heading into the third quarter.
The Eagles built off their second-quarter momentum in the third, as BC went on a 15–3 run to expand its lead to 13 points. BC then entered its second scoring drought of the game, this one about half as long as the first. The Eagles allowed Pitt to cut the lead down to three before a Marnelle Garraud buzzer-beater from behind the arc put the Eagles back up by six entering the fourth quarter.
The Eagles broke away once again in the fourth quarter and ran with their lead until the final buzzer.
BC executed a full-court press through much of the final three quarters, which helped the Eagles make a number of quick baskets to extend their lead.
“We started to press a lot more, and when you start to press, you get easy baskets,” Soule said. “It takes the weight off your shoulders a little bit.”
Featured Image by Benjamin Schultz / For the Heights