Sports, Winter, Basketball, Women's Basketball

Eagles Collapse to Miami 86–65 Despite Leading at the Half


That was the last time Boston College women’s basketball defeated Miami on the road—a drought that continued on Thursday night. 

With a chance to break the streak on the line, BC (13–10, 3–7 Atlantic Coast) fell to Miami (13–7, 6–3) 86–65, extending the Eagles losing streak to five games dating back to Jan. 12. BC brought the energy right off the tip and were buoyed by offensive firepower and stout defense, but Miami pulled away late in the fourth. 

Even while lacking the services of one of their best players, the Eagles were able to stay in it for the most part.  

Junior guard Dontavia Waggoner—who was added to the 2023 Naismith Women’s College Defensive Player of the Year Watchlist on Jan. 24 and leads BC in points per game as well as rebounds—was forced to sit against the Hurricanes to nurse an ankle injury. 

“That’s a tough loss for us,” BC head coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee said. “She’s [Waggoner] an impact player and we definitely missed her tonight.” 

The Eagles were heavily aided by sophomore center Maria Gakdeng, who filled the shoes of Waggoner. Gakdeng dropped 14 points, and was fiery on defense despite only registering one block.  

“When we were able to get her the ball, she did a nice job,” Bernabei-McNamee said of Gakdeng. “We went into a slump there where our guards couldn’t seem to get her the ball, and that’s when you saw us have a lot of turnovers.” 

BC was looking to rewrite the history books coming in, and it started writing quickly. 

Junior guard JoJo Lacey contributed nine points inside of the first nine minutes to help her team jump out to a 14–2 lead. The Eagles, who were shooting 27 percent from three-point range coming into the game, went four–of–six from behind the arc in the first quarter. 

Even without Waggoner, BC was able to hold up on defense and maintain the lead as Miami began to fight back. The Hurricanes drew the deficit to eight points as the first quarter expired. 

Lacey was a problem in the Hurricanes’ zone all night, scoring 16 points and tacking on 10 rebounds and two assists. The junior made play after play and her intensity was at full gear. Lacey facilitated the floor as well as finished with ease on her own en route to her double-double. 

“It makes all the difference in the world when we can make shots, cause then it allows for there not to be double teams on the inside and create momentum on defense,” Bernabei-McNamee said. “So that’s always a good thing”

The Eagles’ 26 points in the first quarter were the most of any game they’ve played this season, and Lacey and co. were keen to keep that momentum going. Freshman sensation Taina Mair stretched BC’s lead to 11 with a steal-and-score off of Haley Cavinder 1:10 into the second quarter. 

BC kept up the physicality on defense but Miami mounted a comeback, earning every point against Bernabei-McNamee’s zone defense. By the time the halftime whistle blew, the Eagles saw their lead cut down to four, 41–37. 

In each of their prior four losses, BC sent the opposition to the free throw line 25 or more times. They accomplished that feat once again in Coral Gables, as Miami made 18 of 25 free throw attempts.

“I think it’s tough,” Bernabei-McNamee said of how BC finished at the half. “Between turnovers and foul shots, right there that’s a lot of points going the other way.” 

The third quarter was a fast-paced game within the game. As BC entered the second half with a slight advantage, a back-and-forth offensive battle put Miami ahead with under six minutes to play in the quarter. Led by Cavinder’s 10 points, Miami recorded 31 points in the quarter—its highest scoring quarter of the season. The Hurricanes surged to end the quarter before entering the fourth with a 68–56 advantage. 

Down 12 with one quarter to play, BC would have to make up for its lack of pressure in the third quarter to capture its first road win against Miami in over a decade. While the Eagles showed some life early in the quarter—getting a key three-pointer from Lacey for her fourth on the night—the deficit was too much to overcome, as Cavinder, Destiny Harden and the Hurricanes sealed the victory.

January 28, 2023