Two big wins over a team from North Carolina was one too many to ask for, apparently.
The Syracuse Orange started Thursdays game where they left off earlier this week against No. 12 Duke. Strong defense and a determined three-point presence brought Syracuse to a quick 10-0, taking only 96 seconds to do so. Following a successful first quarter, SU lead 24-19. Bit by bit, UNC worked their way back into the game. Stephanie Watts kept UNC in the game with 22 points, 10 rebounds, and 8 assists. Eventually the Tar Heels pulled away from a 77-73 victory.
Foul trouble truly hindered the Orange. Briana Day and Brittney Sykes fouled out of the game. Briana Butler and Cornelia Fondren both had four for most of the 2nd half. All four are clutch players that SU generally closes the game with.
Brianna Butler had 19 points with five 3-pointers. She also grabbed nine rebounds. Alexis Peterson continued her hot streak with 22 points and six assists. Brittney Sykes helped out with nine points and 11 boards.
Rebounding was not the issue tonight. SU won that battle 54-41. The problem tonight seemed to be shooting. The Orange shot just 32% to UNC's 48%. If the Orange want to compete in the ACC they will likely need to do better than that.
Maggie Morrison couldn't build off her career performance against Duke. She played just 13 minutes and scored three points. Hopefully, we can see her score so freely again this season.
Syracuse returns to the Carrier Dome on Sunday, January 10th at 2 pm to take on the Virginia Tech Hokies. VT is currently unranked in both major polls, but they are receiving votes. Virginia Tech is 13-2 overall and 1-1 in the ACC. They are at the moment a projected NCAA tournament team.