Sports, Winter, Basketball, Women's Basketball

Eagles Fall to Clemson as BC Retires Swords’ Jersey

Boston College women’s basketball’s Sunday afternoon game against Clemson was no ordinary contest. At halftime, BC honored the legacy and career of Carolyn Swords by lifting her jersey into the rafters of Conte Forum. 

Swords became just the second women’s basketball player and third female athlete all time to earn the honor on Sunday, and she joins the likes of Doug Flutie, Jerry York, Troy Bell, and Sarah Behn in becoming enshrined in BC history through having her jersey retired. 

Carolyn Swords’ jersey officially hanging in Conte Forum’s rafters during the halftime ceramony.

But BC (13–9, 3–6 Atlantic Coast) failed to match the fanfare and energy of Swords’ retirement ceremony in its performance against Clemson, as the Eagles extended their losing streak to four games with a 67–57 loss, plagued by turnovers and fouls.

Clemson (13–8, 4–5) capitalized inside the paint and forced the Eagles into uncomfortable shots and situations all game, causing BC to turn the ball over 20 times.

“We just gotta get a little smarter on the offensive end and take advantage of what the defense is giving us, while also not turning the ball over,” BC head coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee said.

BC struggled to find its shot against the Tigers from the start of the game. Clemson quickly gained a 5–0 lead, but BC slowly got its offense flowing and took a 7–5 lead with a JoJo Lacey 3-pointer at the 6:05 mark. 

Swords receiving flowers during the halftime ceremony.

With each possession, BC looked more comfortable. The Eagles executed in transition—largely due to their speed—and scored 10 points off fast breaks. 

But Clemson’s high press forced BC to take shots outside the paint, and the Eagles shot 30 times from behind the arc, but made seven 3-point attempts.

“I thought the majority of the shots we took were open threes,” Bernabei-McNamee said. “But it was just not our night making those shots.” 

Ruby Whitehorn hit a jumper to give Clemson an 11–10 lead at the 2:30 mark—the second of eight total lead changes in the game.

Taina Mair converted a steal and found Lacey to bring the Eagles within one, and in the waning seconds of the first quarter, Andrea Daley scored a layup to give BC a 16–15 lead. 

In the second quarter, Clemson showed offensive patience and was rewarded with a 4–0 run to tie the game at 21 apiece.

Taina Mair converted a 3-pointer to put the Eagles back in front, but with 1:59 left to play in the second quarter, a Daisha Bradford’s 3-pointer put the Tigers up by eight, Clemson’s largest lead of the game at that point. But JoJo Lacey hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the end of the second quarter to keep BC within seven entering the second half.

BC entered the third quarter with some newfound energy, but Clemson continued to execute on the glass, preventing BC from getting many second-chance baskets. BC totaled six all game.

The Tigers capitalized off BC’s offensive mistakes all game, which led to Clemson scoring 14 points off BC turnovers. Clemson eventually pulled away in the third quarter, amassing a 14-point lead. Dontavia Waggoner recorded an emphatic block to prevent a breakaway basket, but Clemson’s Daisha Bradford answered with a 3-pointer—a theme throughout the entire game.

Clemson’s aggressive defense allowed it to maintain a double-digit lead throughout the majority of the second half. In the fourth quarter alone, the Eagles shot 27.8 percent from the field, BC’s lowest shooting percentage of any quarter in Sunday’s game.

But when the Eagles did find success on offense, it came through passing in the paint. Taina Mair led the team in assists with six.

“Our adjustment needed to … get more into that high-low action,” Bernabei-McNamee said. “But, when we tried, it seemed to lead into a turnover or a charge.” 

In the last three minutes of the game, Andrea Daley knotted a layup to cut Clemson’s lead to nine. T’Yana Todd then made two free throws to bring the Eagles within seven and keep the game within each. But Daley fouled Bradford, who nailed both free throws at the 1:38 mark to put the game away.

Fouls hurt the Eagles all game, as they registered 23 total fouls, five more than their season average.

“Today, a lot of our mistakes were so mental,” Bernabei-McNamee said. “I would like to see us get a little bit of a bigger rotation and really just start to play and put the momentum back on our side.” 

January 22, 2023