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WBB: Syracuse Falls Short of Historic Upset in Loss to No. 1 South Carolina

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The Orange women's basketball team couldn't hold on for a major upset in the Bahamas.

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The anticipation kept growing and growing as Syracuse seemed poised to pull off its biggest upset in program history.  The South Carolina Gamecocks, meanwhile, were in jeopardy of losing their perfect record and their No. 1 ranking.

Diamond Henderson paused near the free throw line, faked and then calmly sank a fade away.  That put Syracuse up ten points with just 6:43 left in the game.

But, eventually, the Gamecocks showed off why they are No. 1 in the country.  South Carolina finished the game on an 18-4 run and held the Orange without a field goal after Henderson's floater.  Syracuse (4-1) came up small in the biggest moments of the game and the Gamecocks held on for a 67-63 win in the Junkanoo Jam championship game in the Bahamas.

"Their post players are the best in the country," Quentin Hillsman said.  "We had to pack our zone in and do a good job keeping them off the glass. The other things we had to do was get every loose ball and 50-50 ball. I thought we did a great job on the glass."

Brianna Butler led Syracuse with 18 points, while sophomore center Briana Day added 13 points and 17 rebounds.

"Briana Day was tremendous tonight," Hillsman said. "Our game plan was to give them help. We were going to crash our forwards inside, get our guards rebounding. I thought they did a good job of doing that. Our game plan worked really well."

Day scored 11 of her 13 points in the second half, capped off by two free throws with 13 seconds remaining that chipped Syracuse's deficit to 66-63.  Then Gamecocks guard Tiffany Mitchell hit a free throw, which made it a two-possession game and ended Hillsman's hopes of a historic upset.

The Orange upset then No. 2 UConn back in 1996, but has never beaten the top-ranked team.