While you and I were most likely slouching around in sweat pants, waiting for the turkey to come out of the oven, or already gobbling down our traditional favorites, the Syracuse Oramge women’s basketball team fought with the Wisconsin Badgers (2-2) and earned their fourth win of the season by a slim margin.
The Orange 77-74 win is the team’s slimmest margin of victory through their first four games. Prior to Thursday’s game, Syracuse was winning games by an averaged 20.7-point margin.
Syracuse trailed 21-19 after the first quarter and battled with Wisconsin in a contest that featured five ties and 11 lead changes. The Orange surged later in the game, holding a 61-55 lead at the end of the third quarter.
Wisconsin brought back a one-time Orange lead of seven points with a minute to play in regulation. Badgers leading scorer Cayla McMorris made a three-pointer to cut the Orange lead to 74-72. She then made a pair of free throws to tie the contest at 74-74 with 40 seconds to play.
Orange forward Digna Strautmane was fouled on a shot attempt with 24 seconds left. She missed the first and made the second, giving Syracuse a 75-74 lead. The Badgers worked the clock down to 10 seconds before Marsha Howard missed a jumper. Orange guard Gabby Cooper gathered the rebound and the Orange called a timeout. Tiana Mangakahia then made a pair of good free throws with :05 to play to extend the Orange lead to 77-74. On the other end, Suzanne Gilreath missed the Badgers’ potential game-tying three-pointer with :02 to play, and the Orange secured the win in Washington, D.C.
Tiana Mangakahia was the leading scorer once again for the Orange, and she notched another double-double with 19 points and 14 assists. Mangakahia is now averaging 11.0 assists per game through her first four games. Miranda Drummond added 16 points, and Gabby Cooper scored 12 in a team-high 36 minutes.
Syracuse (4-0) will play their second game in two days at the Paradise Jam. On Friday, they will face Vanderbilt (0-4) in game two of three in D.C.
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Corey Crisan is the Orange Women’s Basketball reporter for TNIIAM this season. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @cdcrisan for coverage all season long.