Led by a swarming defense, which forced 29 turnovers, the Boston College women’s basketball team defeated the UMass Lowell River Hawks 89-46 on Tuesday night in the season opener for both teams.
Starting forward Emma Guy tallied a game-high 20 points and 10 rebounds, giving the Eagles a massive advantage in the paint; BC had 56 points in the post compared to UMass Lowell’s 16.
Despite her eight turnovers, freshman guard Jaliena Sanchez was a focal point of the River Hawks' offense in her collegiate debut, scoring 12 points and finding some success getting to the rim and drawing fouls.
The Boston College defense was tenacious early on, forcing 10 turnovers in the first quarter en route to a 19-point first half lead. While both squads struggled from the field throughout the opening half, Boston College earned a sizable advantage on the scoreboard due to shooting volume, as the Eagles attempted 13 more shots than the River Hawks.
While the River Hawks rebounded from a difficult first quarter—notching 16 second-quarter points—the early deficit proved to be too much to overcome. The visiting team still trailed 18 points following Eagles guard Marnelle Garraud’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer.
Unfortunately for UMass Lowell, the BC offense would find a new gear after the halftime break, tallying 28 points in the third quarter alone. The Eagles' lead eventually ballooned to 47 points in the second half, with Guy frustrating the River Hawks in the post.
The senior contributed 10 points in the second half, as the visiting team was unable to match her height and rebounding ability.
When asked how her team maintained its level of tenacity throughout the contest, BC head coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee gave some insight into her coaching philosophy and the unique competitive edge that her team possesses.
“We always want to act like we’re down two with 30 seconds left,” the coach said at the post-game press conference.
Finding most of their points in the paint, the Eagles shot 3-of-18 from the 3-point range, which may not suffice against more imposing ACC opponents.
However, a suffocating defensive effort is certainly encouraging for Eagles fans, as the team allowed just 46 points on 22% shooting after giving up 73.1 per game last season in Bernabei-McNamee’s first year with the team.
While BC surely hopes to replicate its 11-3 out-of-conference mark from a season ago, repeated defensive performances like Tuesday’s could buoy the team to a strong record in ACC play after last year’s 13th place finish.
The River Hawks travel to Colgate on Sunday in the hopes of avoiding an 0-2 start to the season, while the Eagles also face a quick turnaround, with their next game on Sunday at home against St. Francis College Brooklyn at 2 p.m.