After perhaps its best week of the season thus far, in which it defeated then-No.10 NC State on Jan. 5 and Florida State on Jan. 8, Boston College women’s basketball winning ways came to a halt against Syracuse on Thursday.
After a 83–73 loss to the Orange three days prior, BC looked to regain the dominance it displayed the week earlier in Sunday’s matchup against Virginia. But inside of John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Va., BC (13–7, 3–4 Atlantic Coast) struggled on both ends of the court in the second half, and the Cavaliers (14–4, 3–4) coasted to a 66–50 victory.
After two strong quarters of play, the Eagles couldn’t solve Virginia’s stifling zone defense in the second half.
“I think our confidence really kind of got shook a little bit in this game, and you could really tell on the offensive end,” BC head coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee said.
BC held a 15–8 advantage after the first quarter. The Eagles shot 42 percent from the field in the opening frame and limited the Cavaliers to four field goals.
In the second quarter, BC’s offensive production slowed down, and the Eagles converted on five of 19 field goals. These struggles were compounded by the all-around contributions from Cavalier forward London Clarkson.
The senior totaled 11 points in the second quarter, largely by shooting nine of nine free throw attempts in the quarter. Clarkson’s efforts helped whittle BC’s lead down to 28–25 at halftime, and she finished the contest with a game-high 18 points.
Virginia outscored BC 23–9 in a pivotal third quarter. Kaydan Lawson and Camryn Taylor each registered nine points in the quarter, and the Cavaliers shot 58 percent from the field as a team.
“I thought they had a really nice presence on the inside,” Bernabei-McNamee said of Virginia’s offense. “That was something we just needed to guard a little bit better.”
Virginia upped its intensity on the defensive end in the third quarter, as the Eagles failed to generate scoring opportunities against its zone defense. BC looked dysfunctional and failed to stop the Cavaliers before the game got out of reach.
“We didn’t execute against that zone very well,” Bernabei-McNamee said. “We were second guessing a lot of what we were doing, and I think the ball movement got very stagnant.”
BC’s offensive dysfunction continued into the final quarter, as the Eagles failed to score in the first 4:24 of the frame. Virginia capitalized on this opportunity, and the Cavaliers extended their 11-point lead to 21 points.
Two of BC’s most reliable scorers, Taina Mair and JoJo Lacey, were quiet in Sunday’s game. Mair scored six points on 3-of-11 shooting while Lacey finished with seven points on 2-of-12 shooting.
“For one reason or another, they just didn’t play with that sharpness today that we needed to win the game,” Bernabei-McNamee said.
The Eagles never came within 10 points in the fourth quarter, as Virginia cruised to victory.
“We’ll turn it around,” Bernabei-McNamee said. “We got to stick together, and we’ve got to believe in ourselves.”