On Wednesday, Boston College women’s basketball lost to Georgia Tech in the ACC Tournament, ending the season for the Eagles. BC went 9-21 this season, and was 2-15 in the ACC. The Eagles won only 30% of their games, the lowest win percentage for the team since 2011-2012. Coach Erik Johnson took over at BC beginning in 2012 and has yet to lead the Eagles to a winning season. The Eagles last had a winning season in 2010-11.
It’s tough to determine what exactly is the problem with this team without being in the locker room. While BC might not be able to recruit the same caliber players as UConn, there are some very talented women on this team. BC made 42% of field goals this season, while opponents have shot 40% against the Eagles. Kelly Hughes is the program’s leading career 3 point scorer, and her graduation will be a huge loss for the program. Mariella Fasoula is one of the top players in the ACC and she’s only a sophomore. Even on a team that mostly loses, Fasoula is 9th in the ACC with an average of 9 points a game, 10th in the conference with 7.5 rebounds per game and 4th in the ACC in defensive rebounds per game with 5.6. The Eagles have also seen improvement from their 2 Australian freshman, Taylor Ortlepp and Georgia Pineau, who both average 7 points per game.
A lot of the visible problems that lead BC to lose are things that should be coachable. Despite a few blowouts, most of BC’s losses have been close and they lose by just 6 points on average. The Eagles tend to play well early on, lose the lead, and then stage a failed comeback attempt late in the game. If they could play with more consistency and avoid mid-game breakdowns, they would have a lot more wins. Better conditioning and stamina seems like it could be a big help here. Turnovers have also been one of, if not the, biggest problems for BC. With 19.2 turnovers per game resulting in 18.3 points for their opponents, the Eagles have essentially been handing out points. These problems have been apparent since day one, and there has been little to no improvement in turnovers or conditioning as the season progressed.
Losing Hughes is going to be a big blow to this team next year. With Fasoula keeping up the pace and improvement from Ortlepp and Pineau the Eagles have the potential to win more games, but something needs to change. Obviously the new athletic director will prioritize football and men’s basketball, since that is where the money is, but (s)he will also need to take a serious look at the women’s basketball program to determine what steps need to be taken to turn a sloppy but moderately talented team into a consistent and winning team.