When Boston College women’s basketball head coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee came to the Heights in 2018, she inherited a program that had not made an NCAA tournament since 2006. BC, sitting as one of ESPN’s “Last Four In” for this year’s tournament, looked to pad its résumé in its regular season finale on Sunday.
The Eagles (19–10, 10–8 Atlantic Coast) came out firing from tipoff. BC started 5-for-5 from three to jump out to a 21–4 lead that it never relinquished. The lead ballooned to as many as 36 points in the third quarter, and the Eagles walked away with a 91–75 win over Syracuse (11–17, 4–14).
Cameron Swartz was hot for the Eagles on Sunday, scoring a team-high 20 points. Swartz entered the game with 995 career points and quickly reached the 1,000-point mark, surpassing it on her second 3-pointer of the game with 42 seconds left in the first quarter.
Swartz finished the game with three 3-pointers and 8-of-11 shooting from the field.
She joined teammates Taylor Soule and Makayla Dickens as the third member of BC’s senior class to total at least 1,000 career points.
“I feel like that’s always a good milestone accomplishment,” Swartz said. “Having those three people do it in one year, I would say, [is] pretty amazing. … This shows how much that we all contribute.”
Despite the Eagles shooting the lights out of the Carrier Dome, they struggled with the same turnover problems that have plagued them all year. BC committed 24 turnovers during the game, but a large lead acted as a cushion to soften the blow of these errors.
As BC continued to commit turnovers and Bernabei-McNamee rotated in some of the Eagles’ more inexperienced players, BC’s lead began to dwindle late in the third and fourth quarters.
“Playing the younger players gave them a great opportunity to get ACC experience,” Bernabei-McNamee said. “They just have to learn to play a little bit harder because they’re very talented.”
With 19 wins on the year, Bernabei-McNamee is close to securing 20 total wins for the second time in her four years on the Heights, a feat that only Sylvia Crawley has achieved as a BC head coach. Bernabei-McNamee reiterated that her main focus is on making the NCAA tournament.
“We’re definitely one game at a time right now, but that has been our goal for the last four years,” Bernabei-McNamee said. “You can’t look too far ahead.”
Featured Image by Leo Wang / Heights Staff