Boston College women’s basketball took a trip across the Charles River Thursday night riding high from its dominant win over UMass Lowell in its season opener.
Harvard, however, was an entirely different challenge in a high-paced game. A young BC team struggled to handle the intense press of an experienced Harvard (2–0, 0–0 Ivy) core. Turnovers plagued BC (1–1, 0–0 Atlantic Coast) throughout the game, and the Eagles struggled to generate quality scoring opportunities.
The Eagles’ failure to defend Harvard behind the 3-point line led to a 68–59 win for the Crimson.
Harvard scored 10 threes and shot 45.5 percent from behind the arc.
The Crimson came out of the gate hot, knocking down four 3-pointers in the first quarter alone. The Eagles, meanwhile, started slow, shooting just 25 percent from the field in the first quarter. Harvard jumped out to a 20–10 lead, led by Harmoni Turner’s 11 first quarter points.
“We played like we’d never practiced and like we were scared to death in the first quarter,” head coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee said after the game. “What we need to work on is our intestinal fortitude in that first half.”
The Eagles settled into the game in the second quarter, using their height advantage and aggression on the offensive and defensive glass. BC—which out-rebounded Harvard 37–30—cut the lead to four before a quick 5–0 Harvard run put the Crimson up 25–16 midway through the quarter.
BC’s undisciplined effort allowed Turner to dance through the Eagles’ defense all night with ease. Turner finished with 25 total points and six steals.
“We better learn how to handle a full-court press,” Bernabei-McNamee said. “We have to figure out just how to be a little bit more aggressive without gambling.”
JoJo Lacey had a solid game for BC, finishing with 14 points, seven rebounds, and three assists. Her six turnovers proved costly, however, as Harvard totaled 11 fast-break points.
The Eagles attempted to recreate the second-half magic they flashed against UMass Lowell but couldn’t quite replicate Monday’s 20–0 run. BC came out in the second half Thursday with promise, cutting the Crimson’s lead to 40–33 off a layup from Maria Gakdeng, who finished with 16 points and seven rebounds on 8-of-9 shooting.
Undisciplined defense, though, continued for BC, committing 18 total fouls and sending Harvard to the free-throw line 23 times.
The Eagles, who shot 12.5 percent from three, posed no threat to Harvard’s lead in the fourth quarter.
And BC’s 22 turnovers—six coming in the fourth—were enough to give the Crimson a comfortable win.
“We’ve got to be more disciplined at the end of the day,” Bernabei-McNamee said. “We’ve got to be more all on the same page out there.”