Alexis Peterson had the perfect shot in the perfect moment.
Peterson, the team's leading scorer, had the ball in her hands with her team on the precipice of sending the No. 9 Baylor Bears to overtime. She took a Brianna Butler pass, slashed through the lane and hung in the air while guiding a floater to the rim.
But, Peterson's Jordan-esque jump lacked the fairy tell ending. Instead, it was Syracuse's four-game winning streak that came to an end.
The point guard's prayer at the buzzer rolled off the basket and the Lady Bears, who trailed by four points with 3:24 left in the game, hung on for a 74-72 win in the first game of the Florida Sunshine Classic. Peterson scored 16 points, but it wasn't enough for the No. 19/22 Orange who fell to 8-2 on the season.
Diamond Henderson led all scorers with 27, while Butler added 16 points for the Orange.
Sune Agbuke and Niya Johnson's jumpers on back-to-back possessions gave Baylor a two-point lead with about a minute left. Neither teams scored in their final possessions, including a missed 3-pointer from Butler with 52 seconds remaining. Following Peterson's miss, Briana Day grabbed the offensive rebound, as the last few seconds winded down. But she was tied up by a pair of Baylor defenders and wasn't able to put up a final shot.
Despite forcing 25 turnovers, the Orange couldn't withstand one last push from Baylor, the 2012 national champions.
In Syracuse's past three games, it has allowed fewer than 40 points to each of its opponents. The Lady Bears, meanwhile, shot 42 percent. When they weren't turning the ball over, they didn't have quite as much trouble breaking Quentin Hillsman's vaunted press defense.
Syracuse led for much of the second half, but each attack was met with a wave of counter-resistance from the Lady Bears. There were 13 lead changes in the game and neither team led by more than six at any point in the second half. It was a game of back-and-forth runs and, ultimately, it was Baylor who finished the game on a 8-2 one to seal the victory.
Even though Syracuse falls to 10-45 against ranked teams under Hillsman, the last few examples offer a glimmer of hope. Syracuse's last three losses to ranked teams -- also the last three losses overall -- have all been by single-digit margins. Syracuse lost to the three-seed Kentucky Wildcats by five in the NCAA Tournament and by four to No. 1 South Carolina on Nov. 28.
And, in all three, the Orange didn't have Brittney Sykes to count on in the pressure moments. Sykes already has a pair of buzzer beaters in her career and, possibly, could have gotten a chance in this one if she wasn't recovering from a knee injury.
Instead, Sykes was forced to watch as a spectator from the bench, where she'd see the Orange squander the upset bid once again.