2004-03-12 / Sports

Droesch Leads Boston College Eagles To Big East Title

By Timothy Kuffner
Droesch Leads Boston College Eagles To Big East Title By Timothy Kuffner

Clare Droesch (left) and Amber Jacobs (23) celebrate the Eagles 73-70 win over the Huskies last Monday. (AP/Bob Child)Clare Droesch (left) and Amber Jacobs (23) celebrate the Eagles 73-70 win over the Huskies last Monday. (AP/Bob Child)

This past week has provided a lot of excitement for fans of Rockaway’s college basketball players, most notably, Belle Harbor’s Clare Droesch, whose Boston College team stormed through the first two rounds of the Big East Tournament, stunned perennial powerhouse Connecticut in Hartford on Monday, March 8, in the semi-finals, and then returned the next night to defeat Rutgers by a lop-sided score of 75-57 to secure the school’s first ever Big East Championship.

The Eagles entered the tournament as the fifth seed, after posting a regular season record of 21-6 despite one of the toughest schedules in the nation, coasted through their opening round game against 12th seeded Syracuse winning by a score of 64-36. In the second round the Eagles defeated fourth seeded Miami 65-53, with Droesch closing in on a double-double, scoring 12 points while pulling down 8 rebounds.

On Monday, the Eagles would face their toughest challenge of the year, the defending national champion UCONN Huskies, who had beaten Boston College twice already this year. The Eagles showed no sign of fatigue playing for a third consecutive night, and shot an astounding 69 percent from the field in the first half to take a 39-32 lead into halftime.

In the second half the Eagles extended their lead to eleven before Connecticut began to chip away. Every time Connecticut seemed to be gaining momentum however, the Eagles had the answer. With just over ten minutes remaining the Huskies had cut Boston College’s lead to four and appeared ready to take control of the game, when Droesch was fouled hard chasing after a loose ball at half-court. On the following play she grabbed a pass at the top of the key and hoisted up a tough three pointer with two Huskies in her face. The ball hit nothing but net, and the lead stood at seven points. Connect icut would not threaten again until the game’s closing minutes when they took a momentary one point lead, but could not hold it against the inspired Boston College team. When the final buzzer rang the scoreboard read 73-70 in favor of Boston College. They had pulled the upset and Droesch ran to the sideline to lift her coach in the air in victory.

The following night in the championship game against Rutgers, the Eagles proved that they had not lost any momentum from the night before. They took a commanding 41-24 lead into halftime and never looked back. Droesch chipped in with 12 points and seven rebounds and exited the game in the final seconds to raucous cheers from the crowd. When the game ended and Boston College had won 75-57, Droesch and her teammates exulted together at midcourt, ecstatic after winning their first ever Big East Championship. The championship will most likely improve the Eagle’s seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament, and provide them with a better chance of making a run deep into the tournament. Boston College undoubtedly proved that they can play with and beat the best teams.

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