In a two-minute span, the Boston College women's basketball team went from a 2-point deficit to a double-digit freefall in a game that could have an impact on the Eagles' postseason prospects.
Boston College erased a 15-point second-half deficit only to watch all that good work slip away as Virginia handed the Eagles a 67-57 loss in an Atlantic Coast Conference game at Conte Forum last night.
If this were a playground, the Eagles might have asked for a do-over for that key span.
The Eagles pulled themselves back from a miserable first half that was littered with 18 turnovers, to a point where they had a chance to win.
But BC (18-10, 6-7) may have let a key chance slip away in its push to obtain the magic number of wins to earn an NCAA Tournament berth. BC ends its regular season at Miami Sunday, then heads to the ACC tournament.
"The special number seems to be 20 and if we can take care of business in Miami, and win two or three in the tournament, I think we're OK, but we're still vying to make the NCAA Tournament," BC coach Cathy Inglese said.
For moments in the second half, BC seemed as if it was headed for a major comeback.
Virginia seemed to catch the turnover bug as the Cavaliers stumbled to maintain possessions and clanged shots off the rim. For nearly five minutes, Virginia was without a field goal, relying on free throws to keep its lead.
BC used the time to chip away at a 43-30 deficit and closed to within 47-41 with 10 minutes left.
Freshman center Carolyn Swords continued her dominance in the post as she drove to the basket and picked up a foul that led to two free throws with 6:07 left, making the score 49-47, Virginia. Swords put up a team-high 18 points and added nine rebounds.
But the shrinking gap soon developed into a hole as BC's missed shots were turned into Virginia layups and 3-pointers, and in two minutes Virginia was boasting an 11-point lead.
"The kids were feeling good, so I think what they did was instead of sticking with what we asked them to do, they were trying to do it on their own a little bit," Inglese said.
The Cavaliers (21-8, 9-4) were in a similar situation last weekend against Duke, which used a late run to win, 78-70.
"We didn't show much poise at the end of that game," Virginia coach Debbie Ryan said. "We had that game going down the stretch, and we gave it back."
Now it is up to BC to make the best of what is left of its season. The Eagles have remained competitive, considering they were picked to finish 11th in the 12-team ACC in a preseason poll.
"We were the only ones that believed we could do this," Inglese said. "We're still thinking about [the NCAAs] and still talking about it. It's not over until we finish with the ACC tournament."
Monique Walker can be reached at email@example.com