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Photo courtesy of Boston College Women's Basketball / Twitter

Women's Basketball Runs Away With Hawk Classic Title

While many students went home for Thanksgiving, the Boston College women’s basketball team spent the weekend winning the 25th Annual Hawk Classic (hosted by Saint Joe’s in Philadelphia) in blowout fashion. Thanks to a 26-point victory over Loyola University Maryland in the opener and a 51-point rout against Rider University in the title game, neither attempt came close to dispelling the Eagles’ title hopes.

In Head Coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee's first season on the Heights, the Eagles, who won a total of seven games last year, are off to a 6-0 start. Admittedly, it is still early in the season and the real test will come at the start of ACC play, but a huge reason for their strong start has been a prolific offense, which is averaging 85.8 points per game to start the 2018 campaign. Through their first four games, they ranked twenty-ninth in the nation in scoring offense. The Eagles’ high-scoring offense was on full display in both games this weekend.

On Saturday, the Eagles defeated Loyola University Maryland 73-47. Emma Guy led the victory, putting up 15 points and grabbing nine rebounds, which led the team in both categories. The team's bench also contributed solid minutes, outscoring Loyola Maryland 27-13. The bench was headlined by Mackayla Dickens who had 10 points and five assists in 27 minutes.

After Milan Bolden-Morris hit a buzzer beating three-pointer to end the first half, the Eagles led by a score of only 31-24. Yet, BC would pull away in the second half. They held Loyola Maryland scoreless until the 4:23 mark of the third quarter, and by the end of the game, this dominance showed up in the box score. The Eagles out-rebounded Loyola Maryland 38-22 and had a 16-2 advantage in fast break points.

In the title game on Sunday, the Eagles destroyed Rider 112-61. BC was led by tournament MVP Marnelle Gerrard, who scored a career high 28 points. However, this was not the only milestone that would be achieved in this contest . The Eagles’ 61 points at the half tied a program record that had been set back in 1997, and their total of 112 points was one shy of the program record, which was set in a double overtime win against Penn State during the 2010-11 season. Also of note, freshman Lana Hollingsworth of Brighton East, Australia scored her first collegiate points with a long two-point field goal at the end of the first half.

It was a tough game for Rider, as they committed three fouls on BC’s opening possession. Rider’s star players Stella Johnson and Amari Johnson (no relation) both found themselves in foul trouble throughout the game as well. Stella Johnson picked up a technical foul with 8:30 remaining in the second quarter after having some words with an official, and she sat out the remainder of the half. She began the second half on a strong note with a few nice drives to the basket, but fouled out with 4:48 to go in the third quarter.

For BC, Guy made some nice moves inside early, but finished with only four points and three rebounds in just 28 minutes of action in the blowout. Taylor Ortlepp tallied 11 points along with six assists, and she put together a much better shooting performance after going 1-7 from deep against Loyola Maryland. Both players were named to the Hawk Classic All-Tournament Team.

The title marked the program’s first holiday tournament victory since the 2010-11 season. The Eagles will look to continue their powerful start on Tuesday night against the Providence College Friars in Conte Forum.

Follow @BCGavelSports on Twitter for the latest updates on Boston College Athletics.

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I’m here to chew gum and be incredibly biased about BC sports, and I’m all out of gum.