Sports, Basketball, Women's Basketball

 Defense Propels Eagles to First ACC Win of Season Against Georgia Tech

After transferring from Colorado in 2019, Georgia Tech guard Cameron Swartz spent three seasons at Boston College between 2019 and 2022, where she started 71 games and averaged 12.9 points per game. Swartz was a big part of what BC women’s basketball head coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee had been building since she took over in 2018. But the Marietta, Ga. native decided to return home for her fifth year as a graduate transfer. 

Swartz led the Eagles in points per game last year with 16.1, and she has averaged 13.6 so far this season for the Yellow Jackets. In her return to Conte Forum, Swartz put up 14 points, leading Georgia Tech in scoring. 

Despite Swartz’s efforts, the Eagles (10–4, 1–1 Atlantic Coast) controlled the game throughout much of the first half, leading by as many as 13 points and finishing out the half with a seven-point advantage over the Yellow Jackets (8–3, 0–1) en route to a 74–62 victory. 

“We just treated [Swartz] and [Georgia Tech] like any other team,” Dontavia Waggoner said. 

JoJo Lacey bolstered the Eagles’ backcourt in the first quarter, draining two 3-pointers to put BC up 19–8. But Swartz connected on two free throws to cut BC’s lead to 21–12 heading into the second quarter. 

With 4:37 left in the second quarter, Georgia Tech’s Kara Dunn recorded a layup to cut BC’s lead to just four points, but a third Lacey 3-pointer put the Eagles back up by seven to close out the half. 

The Eagles dominated in the third quarter, jumping out of the break on an 8–0 run and finishing the quarter up 56–40. 

“I was impressed that they were communicating on the defensive end,” Bernabei-McNamee said. “That’s a priority, communication.” 

Going into the fourth quarter, it looked as if BC was in position to secure the victory, but the Yellow Jackets cut BC’s lead down to seven with 4:30 left to play.

Swartz—who finished with 14 points, going 9-of-9 from the free-throw line—nailed her final two free throws of the game to keep Georgia Tech down eight with 3:23 left.

But the Eagles showed composure in the waning minutes, with Andrea Daley responding with a 3-pointer. Lacey went on to make two free throws with 39 seconds left to close out the win, BC’s first in conference play.  

“It’s big to get your first ACC win in the second game of the season in conference play,” Bernabei-McNamee said. “It’s a good feeling. It’s good for confidence for our team to know that they can do it.” 

The depth of BC’s roster played a key role in the game. Waggoner, Daley, Lacey, and Taina Mair all finished with double-digit scoring for the Eagles. Mair played all 40 minutes of the game, recording 12 rebounds and finishing just two assists shy of a triple double. 

“Once I get the rebound I’m looking up the court and seeing if I can get an assist so we can just go coast to coast,” Mair said. “So it’s kind of a momentum thing. If it’s coming to me, I’m just gonna have to go get it.”

Both teams battled on the boards all night long, as BC collected 47 rebounds while the Yellow Jackets grabbed 46. 

Defensively, BC held the Yellow Jackets to 28 percent shooting from the field.

“That was something that I was really proud of,” Bernabei-McNamee said. “Defensively, sticking with the game plan, but also just with that look in their eyes—very determined. And that’s a credit to them as players just playing really hard.” 

December 20, 2022
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