The Boston College women’s basketball team opened its season against the University of New Hampshire in an empty Conte Forum on Wednesday.
After a brief adjustment period, Boston College went on a 15-4 run to cap the first quarter and ran away in the third quarter for an 80-44 victory.
For third-year coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee, playing a game during the coronavirus pandemic was a relief.
“Even just the stress of thinking this could be cancelled, or not having the game, that was the biggest worry,” Bernabei-McNamee said in a postgame video conference.
“Once the tip went up, we were a little all over the place, but then you kind of saw us settle in and I thought in our third quarter, we showed what we want BC basketball to look like.”
The Eagles were paced by junior Taylor Soule, who recorded her 11th career double double with a game-high 22 points and 12 rebounds. Junior center Clara Ford scored a career-high 12 points in her first collegiate start.
BC held UNH to 16-for-60 (26.7 percent) field goal shooting and forced 23 turnovers. The Eagles outscored the Wildcats, 24-5, in the third quarter.
Bernabei-McNamee credited her bench for filling the quiet gym with cheers to ramp up the intensity and create more of a game-like atmosphere.
“It was really interesting,” Ford said about playing without fans. “Once you get into the game you don’t notice it, but when you’re on the bench you have to do a little more than usual.”
“To their credit, the people who were on the bench cheered their butt off and really made the atmosphere better,” added Bernabei-McNamee. “That’s something I think you’re going to see from our team all season.”