Sports, Winter, Basketball, Women's Basketball

Eagles’ Defensive Mistakes Lead to 83–81 Loss to Wildcats 

Kaylah Ivey splashed a 3-pointer from the left corner to put Boston College women’s basketball up 61–55 over Kentucky with 2:56 left in the third quarter—the Eagles’ largest lead of the game. 

Ivey coupled her shot-making with her playmaking abilities during Thursday night’s ACC/SEC matchup between BC and the Wildcats. The junior guard finished with nine assists and found her teammates in transition numerous times for easy layups. 

“[Ivey] sees the floor better than any guard in the country in my opinion,” BC head coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee said. 

But despite Ivey’s productive court vision, the Eagles (3–5) could not overcome Kentucky (3–5) in a game that went down to the last half second and ultimately ended 83–81 in the Wildcats’ favor. 

Defensive errors and poorly timed fouls on BC’s part sent Kentucky to the line for a total of 17 free throws, and the Wildcats capitalized, knocking down 12 of their attempts. 

“I thought we had a couple undisciplined fouls at some untimely minutes in the game,” Bernabei-McNamee said. 

With about six minutes left in the game, Kentucky’s Ajae Petty finished off the glass and drew a shooting foul against BC’s Teya Sidberry. Petty sank her free throw to complete the three-point play and put her team within a point of the Eagles, 73–72.

About a minute later, BC’s defense failed to close out on Kentucky’s Saniah Tyler, and she drilled a 3-pointer to tie the game at 75 apiece. After that, the Eagles never regained the lead. 

“I think defensively we weren’t as locked in as we needed to be,” Bernabei-McNamee said. 

Despite their defensive woes, the Eagles played an efficient offensive game fueled by impactful performances from their bench. 

JoJo Lacey provided the Eagles with an early spark off the bench, scoring her first points on a 3-point make with 3:42 left in the first quarter. Lacey then struck again less than a minute later on another 3-pointer, which gave the Eagles a 21–17 lead in the first frame. 

Lacey’s impact continued throughout the game. As the clock expired to signal the end of the third quarter, Lacey rose up over her defender and rattled one home to put BC up 64–61 headed into the fourth. She finished the game with 15 points. 

But every time the Eagles established offensive toughness, Kentucky’s offense proved just as resilient. The largest lead BC held was six points. 

“We certainly scored enough points to win,” Bernabei-McNamee said. “We just didn’t get enough stops to win.”

Although the Eagles gave up nine offensive boards to the Wildcats, they also brought in 11 of their own, which led to second-chance attempts. Dontavia Waggoner led BC with four offensive rebounds. 

On the Eagles’ opening possession of the second half, Waggoner asserted herself in the paint. She grabbed an offensive rebound and laid it up and in to give the Eagles a one point advantage, 42–41. 

Later on, Waggoner had a chance to take the lead from the free throw line with 10 seconds left in the game after being tripped up on a drive to the basket. Waggoner, who was previously 5 of 6 from the free throw line, went 1 of 2 in the sequence and tied the game at 81. 

With less than a second left, Kentucky’s Eniya Russell drove into the paint with a full head of steam. Her defender fell at the elbow and BC’s helpside was slow to recover, giving Russell a clean look at a right-hand layup, which she scored to put the Wildcats up, 83–81. 

The Eagles had a last-chance attempt with 0.4 seconds remaining, but could not get a game-winning shot off.

“Even our last play was an opportunity to get a last chance effort in,” Bernabei-McNamee said. “It’s a tough loss.” 

November 30, 2023