The Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team has had a rough start to conference play since beginning the season 12-1 in non-conference play. A week after upsetting the No. 11/12 Florida State Seminoles at the Carrier Dome, the ‘Cuse lost to unranked NC State, 60-56, in Raleigh. NC State’s win breaks a four game losing streak versus the Orange.
Final from Reynolds Coliseum. Pack edges Orange 60-56. pic.twitter.com/8Fgd2gdWds— 'Cuse Women's Hoops (@CuseWBB) January 14, 2018
Syracuse (14-4, 2-3) has lost three of its last five games, all within the ACC. The Orange loss on Sunday was mainly due to an otherwise cold day of shooting from its star players. Forward Miranda Drummond put forward one of her lowest-scoring games this season. She scored nine points on just 3-of-8 shooting. Tiana Mangakahia fouled out after just 30 minutes of action, but she led Orange scorers with 16 points.
The first quarter was a frame of scoring runs for either side. NC State began the game on a 7-0 run, but Syracuse responded right away with a 14-3 run of its own. Following that, NC State closed the quarter with a 12-3 run to keep a 22-17 lead after the first.
Syracuse rallied back in the second quarter to take its first lead of the game. Syracuse had a 33-30 lead after Chelayne Bailey knocked down a three pointer with 1:39 to play until half. NC State’s Chelsea Nelson followed with a pair of free throws, and the Orange led 33-32 into the half.
NC State’s Akela Maize made a free throw 13 seconds into the third, but both teams went on a scoring drought that lasted 3:05 across the period. NC State’s Kiara Leslie finally broke the silence with a layup to give NC State a 35-33 lead at the time.
From that point, the two teams began to exchange baskets, and in turn, leads. The final six minutes of the quarter featured six lead changes and two ties, and the Wolfpack held a 43-40 lead into the fourth.
Syracuse could not pull away from NC State in the fourth. NC State gained a 57-49 lead with two minutes to play, but Syracuse did not give in. The Orange went on a quick 6-0 run to cut NC State’s lead to 57-55 after a pair of successful Mangakahia free throws.
After running down the shot clock and with 25 seconds left in regulation, NC State’s Chelsea Nelson missed a jumper and was able to gather her own rebound. NC State called a timeout with 20 seconds left, and the Wolfpack iced the game with a few more free throws, these three from DD Rogers.
Mangakahia and Gabby Cooper were the only two Orange players to net double-figures on Sunday. Cooper scored 11 and pulled in four rebounds. Mangakahia also finished with seven turnovers.
Kaila Ealey, Nelson, and Maize contributed 11 points each for NC State. Nelson added 12 rebounds to complete the double-double.
Syracuse will hit the road for a Thursday ACC clash versus Miami (12-6, 2-3.) Tip versus the Hurricanes is slated for 7:00 p.m. EST from Coral Gables, Fla. The Orange return home next Sunday January 21 for a game versus Pittsburgh, the first of two straight home games.
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Corey Crisan is the Orange Women’s Basketball reporter for TNIAAM. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @cdcrisan for coverage all season long.