The ACC schedule has been as tough as advertised for the Boston College Women’s Basketball team, but the Eagles have found their way to a few league wins as we get into the meat of the conference slate. Thursday night’s win at Conte Forum was easily the most exciting of the season so far for Joanna Bernabei-McNamee’s Eagles, with BC making huge buckets in the final seconds of regulation, overtime, and double overtime to earn the thrilling 92-90 win at Conte Forum.
The Eagles came out to a strong start in the first half against the Blue Devils, taking the biggest lead of the game for either team early in the 2nd quarter on a three from Makayla Dickens to make it 25-14. But Duke fought back before the teams headed to the locker room, outscoring BC 20-9 over the final 7:24 of the half to tie the game up at 34 apiece.
It was the Blue Devils who started strong in the second half, getting out to a lead of as much as seven points in the third quarter, before the Eagles made a small comeback of their own.
The fourth quarter and beyond was breathless, back and forth basketball with the two teams exchanging the lead and tying the game up on seemingly every other possession. A Duke free throw with 25 seconds to play put the Blue Devils up 66-64, setting up a wild finish to regulation.
Makayla Dickens threw up a three-point shot with 9 seconds to play, but couldn’t get it to go. The Blue Devils recovered the rebound, but BC’s Milan Bolden-Morris forced the jump ball with 6.3 seconds left, with the possession arrow going to the Eagles.
Emma Guy took the inbound from the paint in a ton of traffic and couldn’t get the shot to go, but Makayla Dickens was there for the offensive rebound, just barely getting the shot up in time from just below the free thrown line at the buzzer to tie the game and send it to overtime.
OT number one was more of the same, with one team taking a small lead and the other responding almost immediately. Duke took a three point lead with just over a minute to play, before Taylor Ortlepp and Sydney Lowery made clutch shots with 53 and 5 seconds to play respectively to give the Eagles what looked to be a chance at the win. But a tough foul on the Eagles at the other end of the court sent the Blue Devils to the line with two seconds to play, allowing Haley Gorecki to sink one of two to send the game to another overtime tied at 77.
Double overtime initially looked like Duke would finally find enough to come away with the win. An early three pointer followed by a layup in the first minute put the Blue Devils up by five, their largest lead since the third quarter, and the two teams traded buckets on six straight possessions with BC finally finding a chink in the armor on a huge three from Taylor Ortlepp halfway through the second overtime, trimming the Duke lead to a more manageable two, and a pair of missed free throws from the Blue Devils led to Ortlepp going to the line and sinking a pair of her own to pull the game level at 86-86 with two minutes to play.
But the excitement only built from there. Duke took another two point lead with under a minute to play, and after a missed three from Dickens, Duke took the rebound with a chance to force the Eagles to foul with just over 30 seconds left... but BC forced an immediate steal and got the layup to tie the game up out of just about nowhere.
Duke took possession with the shot clock turned off and seemed to get off what could have been the game’s last play, but the shot wouldn’t fall, and despite collecting the offensive rebound, the players tumbled to the floor resulting in a travel and giving the ball to BC with 3.1 to play with a chance to win the game.
BC called timeout to advance the ball, and Georgia Pineau connected with Dickens on the inbound. Dickens drove to the net before pulling up for the jumper with 0.3 seconds left on the clock, sealing a heart-stopping win for BC over the Blue Devils.
The win moved BC’s record to 14-7 (3-5 ACC), just the second time since the 2010-2011 season that the Eagles have tallied 14 victories in a season, and already double their 7 wins from last year with plenty of games left to play in the 2019 campaign.
Next up for BC is another winnable contest, this Sunday at home against Virginia Tech. The Hokies have the same 14-7 record as the Eagles, setting up what could be another close one at Conte Forum.