On Sunday, Boston College was blown out by a similarly talented Wake Forest team. On Thursday night, they were simply outclassed by one of the few juggernauts of Women’s basketball. The 10-0 Louisville Cardinals, ranked number two in the nation, trounced the young Eagles’ squad, 89-70. Cam Swartz finished with 17 points and Ally Vantimmeren, the youngest member of the team, also scored 17 in just her fourth collegiate game. Neither of them, though, could outplay the duo of Dana Evans and Hailey Van Lith. Evans, the reigning ACC player of the year, and Van Lith, the front-runner for the freshman of the year award, combined to score 37. Center Olivia Cochran added 18 more, and the Cardinals ran away with another big win.
Louisville took no prisoners early on. After losing the tip and leaving Marnelle Garraud open to score on the back end, Louisville settled in and things looked grim for BC. Olivia Cochran scored two quick buckets to give the Cardinals a 7-4 lead. Then, after an ugly turnover by Clara Ford, freshman guard Hailey Van Lith scored in transition. After Dana Evans drained two jumpers from deep, Coach Bernabei-McNamee called timeout. Her Eagles were down 15-6 with more than five minutes to play in the first and Louisville hadn’t missed a field goal yet. After the timeout though, things went even worse for Boston College. Dana Evans and Elizabeth Balogun hit two more threes, pushing the lead to twelve. At the end of one, Louisville was comfortably ahead, leading 26-16.
The second quarter was up and down for both teams. Early on, Taylor Soule picked up her second and third fouls. For the second consecutive game, the Eagles star forward was sidelined for the majority of the first half due to foul trouble. When Jaelyn Batts came into replace her, the Eagles struggled on offense. Luckily for them, the Cardinals slowed down in the second as well. After two consecutive threes from Eagles’ freshman Ally Vantimmeren, the deficit was just nine. Vantimmeren’s buckets went to waste, however, as the Eagles defense gave up easy layups to Cochran and Balogun. At the end of the half, the Eagles were down 42-28.
Joanna Bernabei McNamee has a knack for making great halftime adjustments, and they worked in this game too. The Eagles opened the second half shooting 6-6 from the field. That success, though, was short-lived, as the third quarter soon became the Dana Evans show. Last season’s ACC player of the year could not miss. She scored twelve points in the third quarter, including two deep threes to stop the BC run in its tracks. The Cardinal’s guard was also an effective distributor, getting into the paint and finding Van Lith and Balogun for open threes. Boston College tried to answer, hitting two threes of their own before the break, but still trailed 68-56 at the end of three.
With the Eagles tired and in foul trouble, the Cardinals pulled away in the fourth quarter. Evans, Van Lith, Cochran and Kianna Smith lit up the Eagles late in the game. After an early BC timeout, the Cardinals went 7-9 during a 16-5 run. The lead was almost always twenty points or more. The Eagles also fell flat after a 28-point third quarter, scoring just fourteen points in the fourth quarter.
Two straight games, two straight blowout losses. At (1-6) in conference play, Boston college is in as big a slump as they have ever been in during Coach McNamee’s tenure. What’s going on? Taylor Soule rode the bench with too many fouls for the second straight game, and the Eagles mustered another lack-luster first half. With another date with Notre Dame coming up, BC better straighten out their issues, or they’ll be out of the tournament race by the end of January.
Photo courtesy of BC Eagles.com