Women's Basketball, Basketball, Sports

Eagles End Season With 58–55 Loss to Louisville in Second Round of ACC Tournament

With 0:32 remaining in the fourth quarter of No. 13 Boston College women’s basketball’s second round ACC tournament matchup against No. 5 Louisville, Cardinals forward Nyla Harris saw her teammate, Nina Rickards miss a layup, and with no one in her way, sprinted into the paint for the offensive rebound—executing a layup with her right hand.

After previously losing by one point, Louisville now had a one-point lead over the Eagles with less than a minute of play to spare. 

Despite a strong defensive performance and three big comebacks at the ends of three quarters, BC failed to secure crucial defensive rebounds down the stretch—leading to a 58–55 Eagles’ defeat in the Greensboro Coliseum on Thursday afternoon. 

 “I think my players, our coaching staff, we feel the pain of the loss, and we’re all sad, disappointed,” BC head coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee said. “We are trying to get them to focus on the positives, which is that they ended the season with two pretty big wins, convincing wins.”

Teya Sidberry and T’yana Todd set the tone to begin, scoring 9 out of BC’s first 11 points to provide an early 11–9 lead. Ultimately, Sidberry finished the matchup with a game-high 22 points.

“I think she’s kind of that triple threat type of player that has great timing on her finishes,” Bernabei-McNamee said when referring to Sidberry. 

While the Eagles delivered defensive pressure, the Cardinals were unphased—matching BC’s scoring at every turn with 5-of-11 shooting from behind the arc in the first quarter. Kiki Jefferson led the way for the Cardinals, registering five points in the quarter. 

Andrea Daley and Dontavia Waggoner carried the weight for the Eagles late in the first frame, forcing Louisville turnovers and converting on mid-range jump shots. Waggoner tallied a career high six steals in the contest. 

“She’s the spark that ignites us on the defensive end,” Bernabei-McNamee said, referring to Waggoner.

With the game knotted 18–18 with 25 seconds remaining in the first quarter, Jefferson hit a pull-up jumper to give the Cardinals a 20–18 edge going into the second frame. 

The Cardinals continued their momentum with a 9–4 run to start the second quarter, establishing a 29–22 cushion with 6:22 left to play in the quarter. While it appeared Louisville would run away with the game, BC’s offense eventually responded. 

Sidberry sparked a 7–0 run that included two 3-pointers to tie the game at 29–29 with 3:42 remaining in the second frame. Eight Cardinal turnovers in the quarter helped keep the Eagles within striking distance. 

The start of the second half was similar to that of the previous quarter. 

BC faltered defensively, granting Louisville buckets at the rim. Sydney Taylor converted on a layup and three possessions later, Jayda Curry buried a second-chance 3-pointer with 5:17 remaining. 

Down 42–33 with 5:10 left to play in the third quarter, BC flipped the switch—embarking on an 11–0 scoring spree of their own. The Eagles concluded the third frame with a 44–42 lead over the Cardinals. 

Down 51–46 with 6:17 remaining in the game, the Eagles, for the third time in the game, went on a 6–0 run to take a 52–51 advantage. A Todd 3- pointer from the left corner put the BC fans in attendance into a frenzy, elevating the Eagles to a 55–52 advantage with 3:41 left in the competition. 

“I don’t know how much more you can ask as a coach from your team but to play extremely hard and stick together,” Bernabei-McNamee said.

Neither team scored in the next two minutes of play. Intensity grew and tempers flared, as each team knew the game was a must-win to keep tournament hopes alive. 

With 1:15 remaining, Harris narrowed the Eagles’ lead to just one point following a basket off a BC turnover. With 32 seconds remaining in the matchup, Harris sealed the win with her putback layup. 

The Eagles could not make up for Cochran’s and Harris’s late game heroics, and they ended the season with a three-point loss to the Cardinals.  

“This really hurts, so for next year we’re already thinking about that,” Sidberry said. 

March 7, 2024