Madison Polkowitz / Gavel Media

Women's Basketball's Winning Streak Halted by Florida State

ACC women’s basketball is a conference like no other. Every team, no matter their record or ranking, puts forth a competitive starting five and present challenges for their opponent. Boston College women’s basketball team (13-5, 2-3 ACC) has played close with every ACC team they’ve competed against so far. However, they could not extend their two-game winning streak against the Florida State Seminoles (15-2, 3-1 in ACC) on Thursday night in Chestnut Hill, losing 91-71.

Florida State jumped out to a quick lead to begin the game, but BC matched the Seminoles offensive intensity early. Taylor Ortlepp got the Eagles going for their first bucket of the game and later tacked on a couple threes. Ortlepp has been fantastic so far in conference games, averaging 13 PPG with only one turnover coming into contest against the Seminoles.

BC’s Emma Guy added a number of offensive rebounds in the first quarter. She has been a major reason why the Eagles lead the ACC in offensive rebounds per game. Offensive rebounding is crucial for BC, especially in such a competitive conference. Guy has been leading the charge for the Eagles all season long.

BC managed to stay in the game despite a 9-2 run by Florida State to end the quarter. Ortlepp kept the Eagles close, but Florida State’s offense exposed BC’s shortcomings on the defensive end. Florida State held a 28-20 at the end of the quarter and never looked back.

In the second quarter, BC Head Coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee implemented a full-court press to slow down the Florida State offense. Against Clemson, Florida State couldn’t compete against the press, as the Tigers forced 23 FSU turnovers in their win. However, BC’s full-court press didn’t do much against the potent Florida State offense. They were shooting 62% midway through the second quarter, getting into the paint and hitting outside with ease. The Eagles also surrendered a fair share of offensive rebounds, giving second-chance points to an already-dominant offense.

On the offensive side, the Eagles were finding open looks, but could not convert on many attempts. BC went through a zero for five cold-spell until Guy, Ortlepp, and Georgia Pineau got the Eagles back on the scoreboard.

BC didn’t reach the free-throw line much in the first half, hitting just three of four shots from the stripe. Most of BC’s shots came from outside the paint, something they looked to change after the first half. Kiah Gillespie led the way with 17 points in the first half as Florida State took the 47-31 lead.

After the break, Florida State picked up right where they left off. BC continued to struggle and put more pressure on themselves with unfortunate miscommunications on defense and forced shots on offense. Florida State took advantage and scored numerous transition baskets against a disoriented BC defense.

The Eagles were still dominant on the glass, but never took advantage of the second-chance opportunities. BC outrebounded the Seminoles 34-33 by the end of the game.

After BC cut the lead down to 13 to end the third quarter, Florida State retook control, crushing any hopes of a comeback. Each stretch of BC momentum was met by an equal force from the Florida State offense, taking shape through Gillespie as well as role players Valencia Myers, Nicki Ekhomu, and Nausia Woolfolk. The Seminoles would extend the lead even further and put the game away with a final score of 91-71.

Even though the Seminoles poured in 91 points on Thursday, they shot a meager 25% from three-point territory. Most of their points came from the paint and the free throw line. As a team, they went 28-39 from the charity stripe.

Against the deep of Florida State lineup, BC was simply overmatched. Guy, Ortlepp, and Pineau played virtually the whole game and poured in the majority of the Eagles’ points. Florida State, on the other hand, allocated minutes to nine players, each playing at least 15 minutes, having only four players with 25+ minutes.

Despite not being ranked and coming off a poorly-managed game against Clemson, Florida State came into Conte Forum seeking to get back into the top 25 and move up the standings in the ACC. They should see their name in the ranking after a dominant performance on Thursday night.

In the last couple games for the Eagles, guard Milan Bolden-Morris and forward Taylor Soule have provided energy off the bench. On Thursday night, the two role players combined for only four points on 1-8 shooting.

It was another incredible performance by BC’s Emma Guy, who put up 24 points and 12 rebounds while shooting 50% from the field. It was her second double-double of the season and the seventh of her career. Ortlepp and Pineau provided key contributions, with Ortlepp shooting the lights out with four three-pointers and Pineau adding 12 points and five rebounds.

The Eagles now head to South Bend for their toughest test of the season against No. 1 Notre Dame at 1 p.m. on Sunday. The Eagles will have to get better production from their bench and improve defensive play to make this game competitive in their tough ACC schedule.

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Matt DeMerlis