The Boston College women’s basketball team traveled to Coral Gables to take on the Miami Hurricanes in a Sunday afternoon ACC matchup.
Despite a far superior offensive showing against a favored opponent, the Eagles exhibited a lack of discipline on defense, accumulating 30 team fouls and giving the Hurricanes 49 free throw attempts, 34 of which they would convert. After 18 ties and 17 lead changes, the Hurricanes took hold of the lead late in the game and emerged with a 76-73 victory.
Examining the efforts of each team on the floor, it is clear that the Eagles should have won by a sizable margin. Boston College shot 27 of 60 from the field, compared to Miami’s 19 of 51. This is a staggering figure; conventional wisdom would suggest that the Eagles would have won this game quite easily. However, because Miami held an enormous advantage in free throw attempts, Boston College was simply overmatched.
The Eagles had four players, including two starters, foul out, with two other players finishing with four fouls each. Under heavy foul trouble, starting guard Taylor Ortlepp was forced to play a whopping 39 minutes. Ortlepp was the only starter able to stay out of foul trouble for the game with just one player foul, putting up 17 points and 3 three-pointers.
The sheer number of free throw attempts that the Hurricanes were given kept them afloat and ultimately gave them the opportunity to seize control at the end of the game.
For much of the contest, the two teams went back and forth. With each Miami run, the Eagles responded, and vice versa. The Eagles were determined to make the Hurricanes score from the perimeter, crowding the lane and preventing forwards Emese Hof and Beatrice Mompremier from getting the ball in the paint.
Yet, the overly-aggressive defense resulted in a multitude of reach-in fouls, as the Hurricanes found themselves in the bonus halfway through each quarter. Miami converted on most of its attempts, keeping the game within reach at all times.
The first two quarters were heavily contested, with neither team able to create any separation. The Eagles carrying a 44-42 lead into the second half, thanks to Taylor Soule and Taylor Ortlepp who were stabilizing forces for the Eagles’ offense. They carried the bulk of the scoring burden and gave Boston College a slim advantage over a talented Miami team midway through the contest.
For much of the second half, Boston College seemed to have all of the momentum. Eagles forward Sydney Lowery provided a consistent spark off the bench, hitting four mid-range jumpers to add to a small Boston College lead. Forward Emma Guy continued to dominate in the post, contributing 10 points and acting as somewhat of a safety net for the Eagles.
The Eagles rode a 9-1 run in the third quarter to an 8-point advantage, the largest lead of the game for either team.
But the Hurricanes responded, tying the game just over two minutes into the fourth quarter. From that point onward, neither team led by more than 3 points. It seemed that every possession down the stretch resulted in a score, with five lead changes over the final two minutes.
The Eagles received the ball, down by two points, with eleven seconds remaining. Miami defended the inbounds pass to perfection, however, and a five-second violation ended any hope of a crucial ACC road victory.
The Eagles have exceeded all expectations this season, but that does not take away from the devastating nature of this loss. Simple, easily corrected errors were instead repeated throughout the game, and essentially gave the Hurricanes free points at the line and changing the outcome of the game.
With the loss, the Eagles fall to 13-7 overall and 2-5 in the ACC, but have a chance for redemption at home on Thursday night against the Duke Blue Devils (9-10, 1-6 ACC).
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