Women's Lacrosse: Northwestern 8, Syracuse 6 - The 75% Solution

I can honestly say I'm not surprised to be writing a recap that Northwestern beat Syracuse. Despite picking the Orange to win in the game preview, everything I looked at told me to pick the Wildcats. So, yeah, kudos to Northwestern for making it 7 out of 8 and an amazing 31-1 record in tournament games during that run. That said, I'd feel a whole lot better about this if not for the way the game played out.

If you were on Twitter at all, may have picked up on the fact that Northwestern held on to the ball and played a stall offense. The jokes were flying hot and heavy, including someone suggesting that the Northwestern women's team play the Maryland men's team to find out if the universe would implode. If you were following my tweets for the game, you may have noticed that I was less than pleased with the officiating. I'll have more to say on that later, but will do it in a different post since doing it here would detract from some other things that are important to say to get into why Northwestern won the game. I've some some fancy tempo related stats, so click on past the jump and see the fancy statistical table thingy which will illuminate all. Maybe.

Syracuse Northwestern
Draw controls 4 12
Time of possession 15:42 44:18
Possessions 17 21
Average time of possession 0:55.41 2:06.57
Goals 6 8
Average time per goal 1:37 5:32.25

The most telling thing here is draw controls and time of possession. The Wildcats won 75% of the draws and held the ball for almost 75% of the game. In the first half, time of possession was roughly even through the first fifteen minutes. The Orange held a 3-1 lead. From the 15:41 mark of the first half, the Orange had the ball ONE time for 47 seconds, scored a goal to take a 4-2 lead and Northwester held the ball for the last 10:15 of the half and ended up with a 5-4 lead.

The second half wasn't much better. The Orange had the ball for 7:04, Northwestern for 22:56. By winning 12 of 16 draws and playing stall offense, Northwestern was able to kill the clock and never give the Orange a chance. It's a brutal, ugly brand of lacrosse that entertains no one except the fans of the team winning by it. A number of tweeters seemed to indicate that it was the first and most likely the last time they'd watch a women's lacrosse game until the NCAA "fixed the game".

The real shame of that is that the two games before this one, the Orange beat North Carolina 17-16 and Florida 14-13 in double overtime, and I can state for a fact they are the two most entertaining lacrosse games, men or women's, that I've seen in person. The only game I can place above them for certain of games I've seen live or on television is the men's win over Cornell to win the title. Addressing the stall issue in both the men and women's game is something that needs to be done immediately.

Scoring summary

Syracuse: Amy Cross (1/0/1), Sarah Holden (1/0/1), Kailah Kempney (1/0/1), Alyssa Murray (1/0/1), Michelle Tumulo (1/0/1), Katie Webster (1/0/1)

Northwestern: Shannon Smith (2/2/4), Erin Fitzgerald (2/0/2), Casey Bocklet (1/0/1), Amanda Macaluso (1/0/1), Jessica Russo (1/0/1), Taylor Thornton (1/0/1)