The Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team completed the Orange sweep over Wake Forest on Sunday, shortly after the men’s team held up its end of the bargain at the Carrier Dome. The women’s team completed a 21-point, come-from-behind win down in Winston-Salem, N.C. The Orange earned a 71-61 win, keeping its NCAA tournament hopes alive.
Jekyll & Hyde
Sunday’s game really was a tale of two halves for the Orange. Syracuse had trouble with scoring after they were off to a fast start in the first quarter. Miranda Drummond opened the scoring for either side with a converted free throw attempt. After Wake Forest’s Amber Campbell made a free throw of her own, the Orange found themselves up 7-1 after back-to-back threes from Gabrielle Cooper and Tiana Mangakahia. The Orange would make one additional field goal in the next 9:57 from that point, extending into the second quarter. Wake Forest went on a 16-2 run in the last 7:41 of the first quarter to command a 17-9 lead after ten minutes. Wake’s Tyra Whitehead and Ivana Raca posted five points each in the quarter.
After a three pointer by Wake’s Alex Sharp to start the second quarter extended the Demon Deacons’ lead to 20-9, Syracuse’s Amaya Finklea-Guity knocked in two free throws to end the Orange scoring drought. Wake Forest continued to pile onto the Orange in the second, extending its lead to 21 points with just under 6:30 to play in the half.
Syracuse’s Tiana Mangakahia converted two layup chances after to put the Orange back on track, but Wake still maintained a 16-point lead entering the half.
Flipping the Script
Syracuse turned around the Deacons’ fortunes in the third quarter. Syracuse regained the lead and held it through the end of the quarter. Syracuse outscored Wake Forest 25-8 in the third.
After Wake’s Ona Udoh made a jumper a minute into the third to extend its lead to 47-29, Syracuse began its scoring tear. Cooper and Digna Strautmane each made field goals with assists from Mangakahia. After Strautmane converted her and-one chance, Wake’s Alex Sharp made a layup to keep the Orange at a 15-point deficit with 7:24 remaining in the quarter.
Both sides went scoreless for over a minute, then ‘Cuse reserve Jasmine Nwajei forced a turnover and made a layup to cut Wake’s lead to 11 points. After Whitehead and Strautmane exchanged baskets, Syracuse continued to chip away at its deficit.
Syracuse was back to within 10 points of Wake Forest by the 4:33 mark of the third, thanks to a layup from Strautmane. After a layup from Nwajei to cut Wake Forest’s lead to 51-44 with 4:20 left in the third, Syracuse finished on a 10-2 run and held a one point lead, heading to the fourth quarter.
Watch what Coach Q had to say after today’s come-from-behind win at Wake Forest. pic.twitter.com/Mj9cv5E4q3— 'Cuse Women's Hoops (@CuseWBB) February 11, 2018
The Knockout Punch
Syracuse started the fourth on a 6-0 run after a Strautmane free throw, Mangakahia layup, and Drummond three pointer. Syracuse was up by seven with 8:19 to play in regulation. Once Syracuse got back out in front, Wake Forest could not close to within three points following that run. Syracuse had a 62-59 lead with 6:19 to play after Raca made alayup for Wake Forest. Both teams went silent for the next 2:27 of game action until Strautmane gave Syracuse a 64-59 lead with 3:52 left.
Wake Forest was held scoreless for the final 2:19 of the game, and Syracuse secured the come-from-behind, double-digit victory over the Demon Deacons.
Tiana Mangakahia paced Syracuse with 26 points and 8 assists on Sunday — her third straight game of scoring 20+ points. Digna Strautmane added 13 points and four rebounds. Gabrielle Cooper added 12 points.
Syracuse (18-7, 6-6 ACC) returns home for a home bout versus the No. 19/18 Duke Blue Devils ( on Thursday. Tip is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. EST at the Carrier Dome.
Syracuse has four regular season games remaining on its 2017-18 schedule — two of those are at home. Syracuse concludes its 2017-2018 regular season at home versus Boston College on Sunday February 25.
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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.