The Syracuse Orange capped off an astonishing regular season by defeating rivals Boston College Thursday night, 71-55. Syracuse finished off the season with a 23-6 record overall and went 13-3 in the ACC. 23 wins ties the Syracuse record for most wins in a regular season. Also, Syracuse finished third in the ACC, its highest ever finish in the league. Finishing third secures a double-bye in the ACC tournament. It is still undetermined who SU will play in their first game, but we will get a good idea by Sunday.
Syracuse won the game with incredible defense, like it has so many times this season. The Orange forced 33 turnovers, scoring 33 points off of them. Such stingy defense has been the difference for Syracuse this season. As impressive as 33 forced turnovers are, what might be an even more impressive statistic is that for an 11:47 stretch Boston College did not score. This helped Syracuse get on to and stay on top. This stretch started in the second quarter and continued into the third quarter. When asked about the scoreless run, Coach Q replied, "Our kids compete, they play at an extremely high level."
Senior Brianna Butler finished her Syracuse regular season career with a game-high 19 points and five 3-pointers. She also topped off her last regular season game with three rebounds. Brittney Sykes scored 15 points and grabbed three rebounds too. Sykes and Cornelia Fondren also stole the ball four times. Syracuse also took advantage at the free-throw line, going 13-14 from the line, capitalizing on nearly all of their chances.
Coach Q also discussed the importance of having an eight-day break before the ACC tournament. He believes it is good to "detox and relax." Syracuse has the longest duration between the season finale and the ACC tournament, which could play in their favor.
Oh and if you're wondering, Charlie Creme, ESPN's Women's Basketball bracketologist, currently has Syracuse as a four seed in the NCAA Tournament.