Midway in the second half, the lights went out on in Greenboro Coliseum. Unfortunately for Quentin Hillsman and his team, the lights went out on Syracuse's shooting display earlier in the game.
The Orange couldn't do anything to stop an offensive onslaught by NC State in the second half. Syracuse was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament in a 79-63 loss to the No. 14 Wolfpack.
Brittney Sykes led the Orange with 14 points, but she was the only player for Syracuse in double-digits. The story of the game was NC State's domination in the paint, particularly in the second half. The Wolfpack stormed back after trailing by seven points at intermission. The turning point in the game came with Syracuse leading 48-39 about five minutes into the half. The Wolfpack went on a 12-0 run, with all scoring coming inside from forward Kody Burke and center Markeisha Gatling. Suddenly, a power outage happened at the 12:21 mark, and then another one a few minutes later.
But even a few delays couldn't stop the Wolfpack attack. Gatling scored the game's next six points until Brittney Sykes hit a free throw. By that point, the damage had been done. Syracuse's seven point halftime lead had turned into an eight point deficit. Just as important, the Orange offense went rusty. It wasn't until Briana Day's layup a few minutes later that Syracuse got a field goal. Before she scored, NC State went on a dominating 25-1 run, encompassing about eight minutes of playing time.
Gatling and Burke combined for 49 points and their team cruised to victory. Throughout the game, they were able to draw Shakeya Leary away from the hoop. That would either lead to an easy bucket or an opportunity for an offensive rebound.
Despite the final score, the Orange looked very good in the first half, especially Sykes. Seven minutes into the game, she had all six points for Syracuse. It looked like the rest of the team missed the memo that the game time was changed to 12.
Syracuse forced NC State to make some risky cross-court passes and started to take advantage as the first half went on. The Orange went on an 11-0 run, that started when Taylor Ford somehow banked a three-pointer in from the left corner. A few minutes later, Brianna Butler created some separation from her defender and sunk another three. After a quiet first few minutes for Syracuse, the shots suddenly were all falling. Syracuse hit six three-pointers in the first half and went to intermission leading 38-31.
At the half, Wolfpack coach Wes Moore was asked how his team planned to stop the outside shooting by Syracuse. "Pray", he joked. Perhaps, his prayers were answered. The Orange only hit three 3's in the second half.
With the loss, the Orange will have to wait a week to hear their NCAA Tournament fate. ESPN projected Syracuse as a six-seed in the tournament and SU is considered to be a lock to make it. The team is looking for its first win in the NCAA Tournament.