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Notre Dame blows lead, falls in final second at BC

| Friday, February 14, 2020

The Notre Dame women’s basketball squad suffered a heartbreaking loss at the hands of Boston College on Thursday evening. In a virtually empty arena, the Irish (10-15, 5-8 ACC) were able to build a hefty lead over the Eagles (14-10, 7-6 ACC) carrying a 32-21 advantage into the half. The Irish seemed bound for their fourth win in a row, their best streak this season, but the Eagles swooped in at the buzzer, erasing the 15-point lead the Irish would hold over their head. 

In the first half the Irish locked down the Eagles, holding them to 6-34 shooting from the field, a feeble 17.6%. They did this while also putting up big numbers on their end, taking an 18-3 scoring run into the break. 

Notre Dame earned their largest lead of the game at the beginning of the second half after earning 11 points from five different players, as they held a 43-28 lead and a fourth straight victory seemed all but certain. But the Eagles found their rhythm in the third quarter and ended the stanza on a 9-0 run capped with a three ball at the buzzer, an eerie foreshadowing of what was to come. 

The Eagles started the final period on a 5-0 run which forced Irish head coach Muffet McGraw to call a quick timeout. Now the Eagles trailed by just one point as the Irish led 43-42. 

Hannah Huelskamp | The Observer
Irish junior center Mikayla Vaughn plays defense in the post during Notre Dame’s 76-53 win over Miami on Feb. 8.

After the timeout the Irish ran into foul trouble as junior center Mikayla Vaughn and sophomore guard Katlyn Gilbert were both forced to the bench with four fouls each. As the panic of blowing a 15-point lead was ensuing, freshman forward Sam Brunelle, graduate student guard Marta Sniezek and sophomore forward Danielle Cosgrove had all racked up three fouls a piece. And then the Eagles hit a bucket to take the lead. 

The 5-0 run soon blew up into an 11-0 run and the Irish were now trailing 43-48 with a little under six minutes remaining on the game clock. The Irish took another timeout to regroup. 

Brunelle would drain a triple with 3:31 remaining to cut the Boston College lead back down to three. Gilbert would hit a layup a few possessions later and the Irish were trailing by just a point. 

Then graduate student guard Destinee Walker would hit a three after a Vaughn steal and the Irish would take back the lead with 2:07 remaining. Walker led all scorers on the evening with 21 and came just shy of a double-double with nine boards. 

The Eagles would hit a free throw and a jumper to regain the lead. But with seconds remaining Walker would hit a layup after her first one rimmed out, but she managed to grab the rebound. 1.8 remained on the clock when the Eagles would put their trust in senior forward Emma Guy, who drained the buzzer beater as time expired. 

The Irish will stay on the road this weekend for a contest at Louisville, currently the No. 2 team in the ACC and No. 9-ranked team in the country.

The Irish bested the Cardinals (22-3, 11-2 ACC) last season in both the regular season meeting in Purcell Pavilion 82-68 and in the ACC tournament 99-79, but lost this season’s matchup 86-54 in Purcell. Louisville is coming off a 66-59 win over No. 4 NC State in Raleigh.

Tip-off against the Cardinals is set for 3 p.m. in the KFC Yum! Center.

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