With 3:16 remaining in the third quarter of Boston College women’s basketball’s matchup against No. 16 Virginia Tech, Hokies center Clara Strack drove into the paint and shot the ball with her right hand through the contact of BC guard Andrea Daley. The ball hit the backboard and spun around the rim four times before dropping in.
The basket increased the Hokies’ lead to 11 points, displaying Virginia Tech’s size and physicality in a game where BC fought until the end.
Despite a strong defensive performance and offensive success late in the game, BC failed to stop the Hokies’ physicality in the paint and secure crucial defensive rebounds, leading to a 74–63 defeat to Virginia Tech in the Cassell Coliseum on Sunday afternoon.
“It was just a vibrant atmosphere,” BC head coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee said about playing at Virginia Tech. “What a great home court advantage. I think that has to be so much fun for their players.”
Teya Sidberry set the tone to begin, scoring on a fastbreak and converting on a jump shot in the paint to provide the Eagles with a 4–0 edge. Sidberry contributed 11 points in the first half to vault BC’s offense.
“I absolutely loved the way she played today,” Bernabei-McNamee said regarding Sidberry’s performance. “I thought she wasn’t intimidated at all.”
The Hokies responded, though, led by graduate center Elizabeth Kitley, who matched Sidberry’s intensity with a 7–0 run of her own in the first quarter off three made jump shots and a free throw to give the Hokies a 13–8 advantage.
“And she plays as guard-like as it comes for having that height,” Bernabei-McNamee said, referencing Kitley. “She has a beautiful right shoulder turnaround jump shot and even fades a little bit on it. It’s very hard to contest.”
Two turnaround jumpers from T’yana Todd and Daley in the final two minutes of the first quarter kept the Eagles close, and BC headed into the second frame down 15–12.
BC held the Hokies, who average 9.4 3-pointers per game—good for eighth in the nation—to just 20 percent shooting from behind the arc in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, though, the Hokies passed the ball around with confidence, finding the open shooter in seemingly every possession. The Hokies shot 52.6 percent in the second frame.
Senior guard Georgia Amoore led the way for the Hokies, registering 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting in the quarter. When Amoore was not scoring, Kitley and Olivia Summiel provided second-chance opportunities, with the pair combining for five offensive rebounds.
“We look like the smallest team,” Bernabei-McNamee said. “So we really have to find somebody and block out, and I think we didn’t do that.”
Sidberry and Daley continued to weather the storm for BC, combining for 11 points in the quarter. The Eagles’ lack of size in the paint, however, allowed Virginia Tech to tally 12 points on second-chance opportunities, taking a commanding 37–29 lead into the locker room.
The Hokies’ success continued in the third quarter. A powerful drive and layup by Amoore with 6:21 remaining increased the Hokies’ lead to 11. Strack’s and-1 layup with 3:16 remaining gave the Hokies their largest lead of the game at 12 points.
At the end of the quarter, though, BC willed its way back into the game. Daley scored on a fast break and JoJo Lacey sank a stepback 3-pointer with 31 seconds remaining in the quarter to cut BC’s deficit to six.
“When they went on that little run and I think they went up 11 on us, they had a couple back-to-back threes,” Bernabei-McNamee said. “In the past games, we’ve tended to fold right there. And I was really proud of our team to not fold but stick together.”
BC’s momentum continued early in the fourth quarter. Kaylah Ivey made a 3-pointer, and with 8:16 remaining, Todd scored a layup off a Hokies turnover to cut Virginia Tech’s lead to three points.
Virginia Tech did not back down to BC’s threat, though, and the Hokies went on a quick 5–0 run immediately after Todd’s layup, giving themselves an eight-point cushion with 7:31 remaining.
As the fourth quarter continued, both teams increased their physicality. A total of nine fouls were called in the last 6:30 of the contest. Virginia Tech made eight free throws in the fourth quarter, while BC only made four.
The Eagles could not make up for the free-throw discrepancy and Virginia Tech’s physical play in the final quarter, and they ended the afternoon with an 11-point loss to the Hokies.
“If we could have made our free throws a little bit better and kept them off the offensive boards a little bit more, the outcome could have possibly been different,” Bernabei-McNamee said.