Sports, Winter, Basketball, Women's Basketball

BC Falls to the Orange 71–64

In Boston College women’s basketball’s last matchup against Syracuse in February 2023, BC lost 79–72. And during this year’s ACC showdown, the Eagles suffered a similar fate—with BC losing by seven points for the second straight matchup. 

But BC did not fall to the Orange without a fight.

The Eagles (9–7, 1–2 Atlantic Coast) tried to claw themselves back into the game in the final minutes of play, but No. 25 Syracuse’s (12–2, 2–1) lead proved to be too much. Ultimately, the Orange dominated the court and gained a 71–64 win over BC on Sunday night. 

With 47 seconds left in the first quarter, Syracuse took its first lead of the game, and ran with it as the Eagles trailed the Orange for 29 minutes of the game. 

“I thought we came out and had really good defensive stops to start the game, but offensively we looked a little disheveled,” BC head coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee said. 

After a dominant first quarter where the Eagles held the lead for almost the entire frame, BC struggled to put points on the board for much of the rest of the game. 

“When we got down, we lost our confidence,” Bernabei-McNamee said. “And I think that, you know, it was the story of the first few quarters.” 

BC’s offense experienced a lull for much of the second and third quarter because of its failure to convert on free throws and 3-pointers. 

“We work on our free throws, but we’re going to continue to work on our free throws,” Bernabei-McNamee said. “We’ve got to take care of the ball. When teams hit us up with traps, we have to do a little better job with taking care of the ball.”

BC scored 48 of its points in the paint, going 7 of 15 from the free-throw line and 3 of 16 from downtown. 

“In this game, I think we were a little bit out of position,” Bernabei-McNamee said. “We’re going to continue to work on our finishing around the basket, our free throws, and really getting after the rebounds.” 

During the second and third quarter, Syracuse’s offensive success flattened the Eagles’ performance. With 6:42 remaining in the third quarter, the Orange had a 20-point lead over BC—its largest lead of the game after Sophie Burrows nailed a 3-pointer.

“We weren’t making shots,” Bernabei-McNamee said. “Then, we let our defense play off our offense, which is not what we are about. We usually play defense hard regardless, and I thought we let our offense falter because our defense was not producing.”

It wasn’t until the fourth quarter when the Eagles’ offense began to heat up. 

“The turning point for [the team] was playing with a little bit more confidence as we rolled into the fourth quarter,” Bernabei-McNamee said. “We waited too long and didn’t have enough time once we started playing better and more confident.” 

With 40 seconds left in the game, Kaylah Ivey jumped into the air and fired a shot from downtown. After the shot left her fingertips, Ivey watched as the ball banked swiftly into the net, cutting the Orange’s lead to just six points—the smallest point differential since the second quarter. 

T’yana Todd followed her lead just 18 seconds later by banking another 3-pointer, which cut the Orange’s lead to five. A few plays later, after drawing a foul, Andrea Daley drained two free throws, bringing the score to 69–64 in favor of Syracuse. 

It was too late for the Eagles, however, who left Syracuse empty-handed. 

“They are good players,” Bernabei-McNamee said. “They just needed to move the ball with confidence and break the press with confidence and welcome the traps. In the first half, the traps were intimidating us. If you welcome a trap, and you are ready, you can pick it apart. And that’s what I think they started doing a little there in the fourth quarter.” 

Despite the loss, Bernabei-McNamee acknowledges her players’ persistence throughout the matchup. 

“I was glad that they didn’t give up,” Bernabei-McNamee said. “They had us down at one point by a 20-point deficit, and we kept playing. We didn’t play the score and say, ‘Oh it’s over.’ I’m always proud of our team for never giving up and sticking together as hard as they can.” 

January 8, 2024