The Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team came into the season with a high ranking and high hopes. A few weeks in and they’ve already found themselves with a big hole to dig out of.
After a hot start that saw the team hit triple digits in one game, the Orange came crashing down with a road loss to Drexel. From there, they headed to Florida for the Gulf Coast Showcase with hopes of reestablishing themselves among the elite. It didn’t work out quite the way they’d hoped.
The Orange started things off strong with a 74-71 victory over George Washington. Alexis Peterson scored a team-high 27 points while Brittney Sykes added 21 points.
SU then moved on to a huge match-up against No. 8 Ohio State. While they played valiantly, they fell short in a 77-72 defeat. SU rallied from a 15-point deficit but it wasn’t quite enough. Coach Q appreciated the effort, however.
"Our kids played tough. They played at a high level. That's how we have to play in these games. We have got to come out, play hard, compete, and do the things we can do to win the basketball game."
In the third-place game of the tournament, the Orange took on the No. 18 DePaul Blue Demons. It was a game that might have had something to say about SU’s place among it’s peers. Unfortunately, the end result didn’t look very good as DePaul rolled to a 108-84 victory. Coach Q wasn’t pleased once again with SU’s start:
"They made a lot of shots, first of all. We came out flat, we came out with no energy. We can't play that way. We have got to do a better job of coming out with energy, ready to play."
Coming out ready to play seems to have been a running mantra that the Orange weren’t able to live up to all weekend long. Peterson led the way once again with 22 points and she’s now eighth in program history with 1,362 points scored for her SU career.
The Orange now sit at 4-3 overall and can expect to see a precipitous drop in the rankings this week. The National Title game appearance suddenly feels like a long time ago and the team needs to figure out how it can get going early and often if it wants to compete with the elite of the women’s basketball world.
It doesn’t get much easier for them as the No. 24 Michigan State Spartans come to town on Wednesday. They’re coming off two wins in the Cal State Northridge Tournament and bring their 6-1 record with them. We’ll see how SU responds to the disappointing tourney showing then.