Sports, Winter, Women's Basketball

Eagles’ Second-Half Surge Carries BC to Opening-Day Victory

Leading up to Boston College women’s basketball’s season opener, there were a lot of questions about how the season would go. The program experienced a tumultuous offseason, losing several star players to the transfer portal. 

Entering this season, 71 percent of the Eagles’ offensive output from last year had vanished. 

On Monday night, however, head coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee’s new-look squad showed fans a glimpse of what the 2022–23 version of the Eagles could look like in a 81–53 victory over UMass Lowell. BC (1–0) used a flawless start to the second half to pull away from the River Hawks (0–1).

“It was nice to get that feel and comfortability for each other out there,” Bernabei-McNamee said.

BC had a balanced attack, with eight players seeing the court in the first quarter alone and 10 playing in total. Dontavia Waggoner and JoJo Lacey headlined the offense with 17 points and 16 points, respectively. Maria Gakdeng—who broke out as a freshman last year—was also involved, posting 13 points and eight rebounds. 

“We have a really unselfish team,” Bernabei-McNamee said. “They’re a team that cares about each other, works hard for each other. There’s multiple people that can score.”

As one of just two teams in the Power Five that does not have a senior or graduate transfer on its roster, BC has a ton of youth, which was on full display Monday. 

Most notably, two freshmen—Taina Mair and T’Yana Todd—were in the starting lineup for the Eagles. Mair was very impressive on the open floor, making several plays for her teammates in transition. She finished with nine points, 13 assists, six rebounds, and seven steals.

Her 13 assists set the single-game assists record for a BC freshman, surpassing Aimee McGuire’s 11 assists during the 1994–95 season. 

“I was really nervous,” Mair said about her first collegiate game. “But when I got on the court it hit me that I’ve played this game my whole life and that I’d be okay.”

Todd, meanwhile, provided some secondary scoring and totaled 11 points along with two assists. 

The Eagles faced some resistance from the River Hawks in the second quarter when Jaliena Sanchez and Jaini Edmonds powered a 10–1 run at the start of the frame. 

BC withstood the charge and steadied itself. going on an 11–3 run to close out the first half. 

The run gave BC a 40–33 halftime advantage.

BC built off of its success in the beginning of the second half, scoring 20 straight points to fly ahead of the River Hawks 60–33, taking firm control of the game.

“Once we slowed down, it kind of started clicking on both ends of the floor,” Waggoner said. 

BC coasted from there on and emptied its bench to get even more players involved. 

“What I enjoy about this team is that everyone can score,” Lacey said. “We have so many different options. … All of us are shooters. All of us are drivers. All of us are super athletic.”

November 7, 2022
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