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Boston College women’s basketball started their season with a decisive 88-64 victory over the Rhode Island Rams on Thursday night. The Eagles played well on the road, holding onto a steady lead the whole game.
There were a lot of question marks heading into the season opener for the Eagles. The revamped roster has only five returning players to go along with seven freshmen and a new head coach, Joanna Bernabei-McNamee. There are no seniors on the team this year. This fresh women’s team looks reenergized on the court and ready to fight their way up the ACC ladder.
Bernabei-McNamee replaces Erik Johnson, who spent six seasons on the Heights as head coach. She spent the past two seasons in Albany as head coach and prior to that, coached at various ACC and Big East schools. She was an assistant coach for the 2006 Maryland National Champion team. More recently, Bernabei-McNamee lead Albany to back-to-back 20 plus win seasons. Albany also made a 2017 appearance at the NCAA Tournament and a 2018 appearance in the WNIT.
Freshmen Taylor Soule and Makayla Dickens started, along with returning players Emma Guy, Georgia Pineau, and Taylor Ortlepp. The freshmen on the team will be a significant factor this season. BC’s bench outscored URI’s 38-12. With a young and relatively inexperienced roster, quality depth will be key for the Eagles this year.
The Eagles played a dominant game, holding the lead for almost the entire contest. BC lead in field goal percentage, putting up 39.5% from the floor, as well as in rebounds, assists, and steals. Junior Taylor Ortlepp led the team in minutes, while freshman guard Marnelle Garraud paced all scorers with 19 points. BC also shot 39.4% from behind the arc.
The Eagles played a great game on both ends of the court. Defensively, they forced 25 turnovers on URI and grabbed 29 defensive boards. The team executed well and was able to capitalize on their scoring opportunities, cruising to their first victory of the season.
This season could be a turning point for a team that has won fewer than 10 games in each of their past two seasons. The win at Rhode Island is a good sign for the Eagles, who have won a total of three away games the past two seasons. This team could be the change that the program has been looking for.
The Eagles will look for another win on Sunday afternoon as they head into their home opener against Saint Peter’s University at Conte Forum. BC basketball plays a double header on Sunday, with the men’s team playing at 1 p.m. and the women’s team following at 4 p.m.