Despite an impressive 22 points from sophomore Georgia Pineau, the Boston College women’s basketball team fell to a not-good Columbia team by a score of 68-60 earlier today. Columbia’s biggest factor in the win was bench depth - the Lions had 27 bench points to BC’s 11. Today’s loss drops BC to 3-4 overall, and only in one of those 3 victories (against Bryant) did BC win by more than 5 points.
The season is young, but it is already clear that this year is going to be more of the same for the program, which has not had a winning season since 2010-11. Under BC Head Coach Erik Johnson, who took over the program in 2012, BC has a 64-97 cumulative record as of today’s game. Coach Johnson is, by all accounts, a great person, but if 5-going-on-6 losing seasons are not enough to call for coaching change, what is? The players and the fans deserve better than the product we are seeing on the court, and there is no reason for BC to not have a competitive women’s basketball team again.
There are two main reasons why the Eagles continue to lose:
1) Lack of depth on the bench.
Back in the Big East days, the women’s basketball team had serious depth. In recent years, there have been only a handful of players you can rely on for big points. Everybody is certainly trying their best and I respect the players for that. But BC should be able to recruit higher quality players than they have been... and as we saw under former Head Coach Cathy Inglese, BC can recruit more than a couple high quality players every few years. It is impossible to compete in the ACC without strong bench players to fall back on when your stars need a rest.
2) Poor foundational skills.
Over the past few seasons, BC’s losses all come back to the same issues: turnovers/bad passing, inaccurate shooting from all but a few players, messy defense, mediocre conditioning, and a general lack of cohesion. Year after year, the same problems are present. If the fans can see these issues, why is the coaching staff not finding ways to resolve them? With the basic skill levels that at least the starting five have, fixing these problems should not be that difficult for a Division I coach to do. Players, particularly college players, can only do so much on their own to correct their weak spots.
This team has talent. Sydney Lowery has adapted quickly to college play. Mimi Bolden-Morris needs some work but has a terrific shot when she is on her game. Sophomores Georgia Pineau and Taylor Ortlepp have both made huge strides since last season, and Emma Guy is making an impact already after missing the beginning of the season. The Eagles need a coaching staff that can consistently recruit players of this caliber and higher (and keep them - Mariella Fasoula’s departure was a huge blow), and that can help these players to continue to improve once they arrive at BC. It is time for Martin Jarmond to take a long look at this program and do something to show BC is dedicated to women’s basketball succeeding