The Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team started off the ACC schedule in rough shape the other day, with a 91-76 loss to the no. 8 Louisville Cardinals. Luckily, they were able to bounce back quickly on Monday night. SU beat the Virginia Cavaliers, 54-49 to improve to 10-5 overall and 1-1 in conference play.
The win was not without its concerns, however. Syracuse shot just 21 percent (17-of-81) from the floor, including a stunning 6-of-39 from three. Quality shooting, especially from distance, is a typical hallmark of successful Orange outings, and yet it was non-existent here. Alexis Peterson was the only player on the team to score in double figures on the night. She had 21 points.
Syracuse’s first half was one to forget for every member of the team. SU scored just five points in the first quarter, and was down 29-18 at the break. At one point, the Orange women were down by as many as 17, but the shooting finally started to improve enough to outlast Virginia, who had their own struggles from the floor.
The Hoos had a 39.6 field goal percentage on 53 shots, but scored just 20 points in the final two quarters combined. Virginia was outgunned on the boards -- SU had a 54-45 advantage -- while also turning the ball over 27 times (the other key sign of a positive outcome for the Orange). Virginia is now 11-3 overall, and 0-1 in ACC play.
Beyond the typical fanfare of a victory, this win marked the 229th for Coach Quentin Hillsman at Syracuse. He’s now tied for the most in school history with Barbara Jacobs (coached from 1979-93). Hillsman will have plenty of time to surpass that mark too, given his success to this point. His Orange team is back in action on Thursday, January 5 at Clemson.