Down 10 at halftime against the top-seeded South Carolina Gamecocks, it could've seemed like the end of the road for the Syracuse Orange women. Instead, the fourth-seeded Orange staged a torrid comeback, and pulled off one of the biggest wins in program history. The Orange won the game, 80-72.
Syracuse (26-7) advances to the Elite 8 for the first time in program history. They'll face the winner of tonight's Ohio State vs. Tennessee game in Sioux Falls, S.D. on Sunday, March 27.
The scoring load for SU was largely carried by just three players. Alexis Peterson led all scorers with 26 points on 9-for-16 shooting. Briana Butler added 18 and Brittney Sykes added 17 of her own. Though Briana Day scored just seven points and fouled out with a few minutes to go, her 13 rebounds were key for the Orange while South Carolina seemed to miss a lot more shots in the fourth quarter. The Gamecocks shot better from the floor, but also turned the ball over 18 times. Syracuse's pressing defense was very apparent over the game's final couple minutes as the team forced turnovers, bad shots and crashed the boards.
Following the game, coach Quentin Hillsman told ESPN that the keys were taking care of the ball and crashing the boards. As you'll notice above: mission accomplished.
The Orange obviously played a complete game to beat the previously 31-1 South Carolina team, but the story was really written in the fourth. SU outscored the Gamecocks by 10 in the final stanza, taking the lead for good with 2:58 to go, and never looked back.
Great win for the SU women, obviously. But the work isn't done just yet. Now let's hope they can pass those good vibes on to the men's team tonight.