The move to the ACC gave Syracuse a spot in a premier basketball conference and the chance to play ranked teams several times each year.
But so far, Syracuse has been dreadful against top 25 competition, the last hurdle in the team's ascent through women's basketball. That trend continued on Thursday night, when the Orange upset bid fell short against the No. 8 Louisville Cardinals in a 78-58 loss in the KFC Yum! Center.
Diamond Henderson scored 20 points off the bench, but received little help from her supporting cast. Syracuse's only other scorer in double figures was Taylor Ford, who had all ten points in the first half.
The team's two top scorers, Alexis Peterson and Brianna Butler, account for almost 28 points per game. But against the Cards, they combined to score just 17 points and shot a paltry 5-28 from the field.
Syracuse's games this year have taken on a predictable pattern, with the Orange beating up on every team it should and falling to every one it isn't expected to upset. The Orange has won all 15 games against unranked teams this season, but has gone 0-6 versus teams in the top 25.
And like the previous five losses, most of the damage came in the second half.
Syracuse jumped out to an early 19-11 advantage when Ford's layup gave her team its biggest lead of the game. The Orange actually went to intermission up, 30-29, after forcing ten Cardinal turnovers in the first half. Syracuse has now gone to halftime leading in three of its six games against ranked teams. In another two games, the Orange tied the score or trailed by one at intermission.
But the Cardinals blew open the game with a 13-2 run to start the second half, never looking back in front of a respectable crowd of 8,387. Louisville took advantage of the foul trouble on Ford and Briana Day and Syracuse's lack of depth at forward behind them. Day came out of the game after picking up her fourth foul with 12:50 left in the game. Then, Quentin Hillsman was forced to put her back in when Syracuse's seven point deficit ballooned to 13 in the next 66 seconds of game play. Taylor Ford, meanwhile, fouled out with 8:28 during a second half when her team lost the rebounding battle by a 2-to-1 margin.
The Cards shot 65.5 percent in the second stanza, with Mariya Moore scoring 19 of her 21 points after intermission.
Syracuse is now 10-49 against the top 25 during Hillsman's tenure and hasn't beaten a ranked team since beating No. 6 North Carolina, 78-73, in Chapel Hill last January.