Sports, Women's Basketball, Basketball

Eagles Secure Second-Straight Win in Defiant 84–58 Victory Over Pittsburgh

As time ran down in the third quarter of Boston College women’s basketball’s matchup against Pittsburgh on Sunday, senior guard Dontavia Waggoner turned an entry pass into two points, extending the Eagles lead to 23 points. 

Waggoner’s last-second finish highlighted a triumphant day for the Eagles, one in which she tallied 24 points on 10-of-16 shooting. 

Behind Waggoner’s performance, BC (13–18, 5–13 Atlantic Coast) defeated Pitt (8–23, 2–16) handily, tying its season-high point total in conference play with 84 points in a crushing 84–58 victory over the Panthers. 

“They were moving, and we talk a lot about playing five-together as one on the defensive end, and when you’re on the weak side, don’t fall asleep … they literally moved together, it was like poetry in motion,” Bernabei-McNamee said.

The Eagles started out their day strong, jumping out to an early 22–13 lead at the conclusion of the first quarter. BC closed out the opening frame on a 12–0 run, dominating on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. The Eagles defense jumped into passing lanes and disrupted dribble moves to create fast-break opportunities. 

While BC led by as much as 15 in the second quarter, the Panthers clawed their way back into the game with a scoring spree of consecutive 3-pointers with around five minutes left in the first half. 

Even though at halftime the Eagles appeared to be dominant in their play on both ends; scoring 18 of their 36 points off of turnovers, Pitt withstood the BC attack, and trailed by only six at the break, 36–30. 

Although the Panthers were able to hang around with BC at the end of the first half, the start of the third quarter quickly diminished any of Pitt’s optimism. A T’yanna Todd 3-pointer with 8:16 to go in the frame extended the Eagles lead to 15, and marked an 11–2 visitor’s run to start the half. 

When asked about her team’s strong start to the second half, BC head coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee attributed the Eagles’ ability to execute offensively to their defense. 

“We keep our foot on the gas,” Bernabei-McNamee said. “It all starts with us on the defensive end, and with rebounding. I really didn’t see much weakness in our defense in the second half, and I thought they moved really well and fed off each other.”

The Eagles’ defense tallied a total of 30 points off of turnovers and 17 steals, seven of which came from JoJo Lacey. Lacey also tallied 18 points and shot 60 percent from 3-point range.

“I think that we are one of the better defensive teams in the ACC,” Waggoner said. “When we play defense, our offense starts to click, and I think that’s what happened this game.”

A Lacey-and-one with 3:50 to go in the third quarter gave the Eagles a 20-point lead, and this margin expanded as the game continued into the fourth quarter. Waggoner asserted her dominance over the Panthers one last time with her final basket of the game with 8:18 remaining that gave the Eagles a 27 point lead, capping off a dominant offensive performance.

Waggoner and Lacey’s offensive opportunities were influenced by the facilitation skills of Kaylah Ivey, who tallied a career-high 12 assists. 

“We do a great job of getting out and running our lanes,” Ivey said. “When we get out and sprint as hard as we can it does open up passing lanes. I think my teammates doing that, first and foremost, and then just making the right play every time. I have the easy part getting my teammates the ball.” 

Bernabei-McNamee had high praise for Ivey, crediting her multifaceted skill set and strong mentality when explaining how she facilitated so effectively.

“She is the most poised player,” Bernabei-McNamee said. “Coupled with that, she has unbelievable court vision. When you put those two together, that’s a serious floor general.”

Every aspect of the Eagles game came together on Sunday and allowed them to dominate Pitt in their regular season finale.

March 3, 2024