The early dominance of Charlie Boyle seemed to portend a better outcome for Emerson’s women’s basketball team after a blowout road loss at MIT in November, but by the start of the fourth quarter, it was clear a repeat finish was in store for the Lions.
Boyle scored 20 points on 10-of-20 shooting to lead the Lions (8-8, 2-6), but the rest of the team added just 34 more in a 91-54 loss to the Engineers (13-3, 7-1) on Wednesday.
Boyle won the opening tip and dominated first half attention in the paint. The sophomore center took each of Emerson’s first three shots, and converted on the third for the Lions’ first points of the evening.
Maya Savino connected with Sierra Ducey and then Eastin Ashby for two crowd-pleasing layups to give Emerson a 6-4 lead with 7:44 to play in the first quarter. Boyle went to the bench with 4:03 remaining in the quarter after adding another eight points, but they would quickly be erased by an 8-0 MIT run, which tied the score.
Lions head coach Bill Gould pulled Boyle out after she picked up a second foul, and said he felt the rest of the team was out of sync because the offense was largely funneling through Boyle in the first half.
“When she came out and we weren’t in rhythm, we started taking some not great shots,” Gould said. “They started scoring, and then it snowballed.”
Boyle said many of the Lions’ pre-planned plays look to the post first by design, and then out to perimeter players if there is nothing open down low. Gould surmised that MIT intentionally left Boyle in one-on-one coverage with an eye on locking down Emerson’s other players.
Order was restored for the moment when Boyle returned to the floor and put in another layup with 18 seconds left in the quarter, but MIT ended the opening act on a 12-2 run. MIT sophomore guard Taylor V’Dovec, often the victim of Boyle’s scoring spree on defense, had seven first quarter points of her own for the Engineers.
MIT carried momentum into the second quarter, starting on a 6-0 run before Boyle added four more points, including two when she turned an offensive board into an easy layup. Boyle headed to the bench with just over five minutes to play in the half, and MIT again capitalized on her absence, outscoring the Lions 14-6 after her departure.
Boyle had 16 of Emerson’s 31 first half points. A buzzer-beating three by Elizabeth Horan shaved the Lions’ deficit to 15 at the half.
Boyle, who has knocked down 51.2 percent of her shots on the year (fourth in the NEWMAC), opened the scoring in the second half. Minutes later, an aggressive Quinn Madden swept in to grab an offensive rebound off a missed three by Ashby, setting up a Ducey layup. It cut Emerson’s deficit back to 15 with just over five minutes to play in the third quarter, but the Lions would never tighten the score from there.
The matchup was the second of the season for the two teams. In the Nov. 30 contest at MIT, the Engineers outscored the Lions 25-12 in the third quarter en route to a 75-40 victory. MIT shot even better on Wednesday, converting field goals at just under a 58 percent clip.
Boyle said Emerson allowed MIT too many easy looks.
“A lot of their shots were layups, so really we didn’t have good defense,” Boyle said. “Their shooting percentage would’ve gone down if we had better defense.”
The Lions will be back in the Bobbi Brown and Steven Plofker Gym for a 3 p.m. tip against Worcester Polytechnic Institute on Saturday.