Boston College women’s basketball head coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee acknowledged that most people probably didn’t expect BC to beat Florida State when the two teams met Sunday afternoon.
“I don’t know how many regular basketball fans thought ‘Hey, BC’s going to win that game,’” Bernabei-McNamee said.
But after watching the two squads battle inside Conte Forum, some fans’ opinions may have changed.
Behind a 21-point performance from Dontavia Waggoner, BC (13–5, 3–2 Atlantic Coast) surged past Florida State (15–3, 4–1) 77–71 in an overtime thriller. Neither team led by more than eight points in the tightly-contested battle.
Sunday’s victory comes on the heels of arguably BC’s biggest win in years–Thursday’s road upset of No. 10 NC State–and the Eagles are starting to appear like a real threat in the ACC.
“We’re not going to play anyone easy in this conference,” Bernabei-McNamee said. “Every team is going to make their run. It’s about us being tough enough and believing in ourselves enough. I couldn’t be more proud of this group and how they fight.”
For BC, Waggoner’s contributions were monstrous. The junior totaled 21 points, 14 rebounds, and finished with four steals. Waggoner made a big impact at the free-throw line, where she converted 9-of-15 attempts.
As BC led 66–61 with 2:50 left to play in the fourth quarter, it looked like it was in every position to earn a victory. But a handful of sloppy offensive possessions prevented the Eagles from extending their lead, and the Seminoles’ Sara Bejedi—who registered a season-high 26 points—knocked down a crucial three-pointer with 43 seconds remaining to knot the score.
Taina Mair, who finished with 17 points, had a good look from behind the arc in the waning seconds, but the shot rimmed out. BC tightened up its defense and stopped one last Seminoles’ shot attempt as the buzzer sounded.
In the overtime period, BC took its game to a whole new level of intensity, fracturing the stalemate once and for all.
The Eagles raced to a 74–66 lead, thanks in large part to a run that was spearheaded by Andrea Daley and Ally VanTimmeren. BC matched this level of execution on the defensive end, forcing four critical turnovers in the extra period.
“I was really impressed with the way they stuck together [on the defensive end],” Bernabei-McNamee said. “Every time the ball moved…you saw five players move, and they were communicating.”
Florida State never got within four points of BC during overtime, and the Eagles iced the game with free throws.
The Seminoles’ struggles resulted from freshman Ta’Niya Latson’s poor shooting—she shot 4-of-17 from the field—and registering just 10 points. The dynamic star failed to score at least 20 points for the first time in 14 games.
“We stuck to the game plan,” said Waggoner. “We knew how [Latson] played coming in. We knew how to defend her, and we stuck together.”
VanTimmeren played an important role off the bench and was highly efficient, shooting 63 percent from the field and tallying a season-high 12 points.
“We don’t worry about the [nonbelievers],” Bernabei-McNamee said. “We’re just worried about us.”