Basketball, Sports, Winter

Taina Mair’s Heroics Not Enough As Eagles Fall to Louisville for Sixth-Straight Loss

Amid Boston College women’s basketball’s five-game losing streak, freshman Taina Mair has shined, averaging 13.2 points and five assists a game. 

Mair led the Eagles on Sunday, tallying 20 points and seven assists against Louisville in a game full of runs, but it was not enough as BC (14–16, 4–13 Atlantic Coast) fell to the Cardinals (20–9, 11–5) 62–52 at Conte Forum for its sixth consecutive loss. Louisville’s Preseason All-American Hailey Van Lith dropped 17 points in the 60-minute defensive battle.

Both teams struggled shooting in the first quarter, as BC shot 28.6 percent from the floor while the Cardinals shot 30 percent. Defense took the forefront, and the only two players with any offensive consistency were Mair and Van Lith. And while the Eagles managed to keep the ball out of Van Lith’s hands for the game’s first four minutes, Louisville eventually found her for open looks, and she nailed back-to-back 3-pointers, finishing the quarter with eight points.

“The first quarter we went under one or two screens, and she scored six on us,” BC head coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee said. “I wish we hadn’t done that for the most part.”

The Cardinals ended the period with a 14–10 lead.

BC started the second quarter with much-needed energy that began with back-to-back layups from Andrea Daley and Ally VanTimmeren. The Eagles even took an 18–16 lead at the 7:21 mark when JoJo Lacey notched a layup. But the Cardinals’ zone defense resulted in offensive struggles from BC and a subsequent 12–0 Louisville run.

Mair, however, refused to let the Eagles fall farther behind, as she responded with a 3-pointer. She led all players with 13 first-half points.

“I thought she controlled the tempo for the most part when the ball was in her hands,” Bernabei-McNamee said. “She’s been really fun to watch.”

The half closed with a scuffle between both teams after Louisville’s Chrislyn Carr and BC’s T’Yana Todd exchanged words. Louisville entered the second half ahead 32–26.

BC started the third quarter on a dominant 13–0 run, capped off by two Mair free throws. The Eagles’ defensive intensity also picked up, and BC didn’t allow Louisville to score until the 3:23 mark. The Cardinals’ Liz Dixon nailed back-to-back layups at the 1:46 and 1:11 marks to cut BC’s lead to four, but the Eagles still managed to enter the fourth quarter with a 44–40 lead.

The Eagles’ lead, however, didn’t last long, as Louisville began the final quarter with an explosiveness it lacked all game. Merissah Russell began a 6–0 Cardinal run, and Van Lith racked up three steals from the 7:02 mark to the 5:28 mark amid a Louisville press. The press proved challenging for BC to overcome, as the Cardinals totaled six points off turnovers in the fourth quarter.

“I wish we had executed just a little bit better against their trapping,” Bernabei-McNamee said. “They were aggressive and were able to throw players in and out of the lineup at us.”

Louisville outscored BC 22–8 in the quarter. The Eagles didn’t score after VanTimmeren’s layup at the 3:17 mark, and Louisville ended the game on a 12–2 run en route to BC’s sixth straight loss.

February 19, 2023