Taylor Soule put together another stellar offensive performance to pave the way for Boston College women’s basketball’s 76-54 home win over Holy Cross on Saturday afternoon in what Soule characterized as a redemption game for a loss from two years ago.
While Soule scoring 21 points seems like the norm by now, her efficiency from the field was notable, even for her. Soule made nine of her 11 shots, including one from behind the arc, along with three assists and five boards.
Both teams struggled to score the ball to start the second quarter. Holy Cross couldn’t take the lid off the basket for nearly five minutes, and BC didn’t score their first bucket for nearly six. Coming out of a timeout, Soule quickly came away with a mid-range stepback to give BC their first field goal of the quarter.
From there, Soule went on to score the Eagles’ next five points, including converting on a tough and-one from near the hoop. When Soule subbed out following a steal with less than two minutes remaining in the first half, she had scored seven of the team’s eight points in the quarter.
“Almost every time-out today was geared towards defense and rebounding. We didn’t shoot the ball very well today, so it was more about getting to that next part of what we do on offense and not shooting threes unless they were really feeling them,” said Boston College head coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee. “But in their defense, they were all open shots, so it’s hard to tell my shooters not to shoot open shots.”
Marnelle Garraud’s selfless playing was instrumental to the Eagles’ success. Garraud scored three points, but her playmaking abilities looked exceptional. She finished with nine assists and one turnover and controlled the pace of the game by constantly pushing the offense forward.
“Overall I’m just trying to be a good point guard and teammate,” said Garraud. “Like coach Mac was saying, we didn’t have a great shooting night, so you have to find other ways to contribute. That was one way I was able to contribute.”
The 2020-21 ACC All-Defensive selection also excelled in the press and tallied five steals and two blocks.
On the other hand, the BC defense played exceptionally well in the second quarter, particularly in their efforts to keep the Crusaders from getting second-chance points or points in the paint. After getting 12 points in the paint in the first quarter, the Crusaders finished the second quarter with none.
Much of the Eagles’ interior defensive prowess can be attributed to the play of Maria Gakdeng. In one possession, Gakdeng made an emphatic block to keep the Crusaders’ scoreless streak going and then stole the ball shortly after. Gakdeng finished the game with three blocks and five rebounds, including three offensive boards.
“[Gakdeng] maybe didn’t put up all the points that she can, but I think you saw that she has that mobility with her size and her length. She’s got go-go gadget arms that kind of just stretch out forever. She’s easily six-foot-five, and sometimes when you have that height, you don’t have the coordination to go with it, but she showed it today,” Bernabei-McNamee said. “That’s what impresses me… and she’s just going to keep getting better.”
Holy Cross started strong and gave BC some serious problems in the paint in the first quarter. BC couldn’t seem to box them out, and Holy Cross was gifted with some easy second-chance points and close layups. Towards the end of the quarter, however, the Eagles were able to make adjustments to keep the Crusaders off the boards and proceeded to pull away with an 8-0 run to give themselves a nine-point lead.
Shooting was key for the Eagles’ first-quarter lead. Ally Van Timmeren drained two jumpers, including a three-ball, to set the tone early. She finished the game with 10 points, second to Soule, in only 14 minutes.
Sloppy turnovers were something that both teams struggled with. Aside from some bad passes, the two teams totaled six traveling violations in the first half alone. Holy Cross also had a five-second violation and an inbound pass that went directly out of bounds, untouched. While these turnovers were something that BC was able to overcome against Holy Cross, simple mistakes like this could become a difference-maker when they start conference play in December.
With just a second left on the clock in the third quarter, Taylor Soule caught-and-popped the inbound pass from beyond the arc to beat the buzzer and extend BC’s lead to 19 points heading into the fourth quarter.
Kaylah Ivey went down with what appeared to be an ankle injury in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, but the injury is not serious, according to Bernabei-McNamee.
The Eagles (2-0) will look to continue their undefeated start to the season Wednesday when they take a trip down Comm. Ave. to take on Boston University this Wednesday night.
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