The Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team is rolling as the schedule runs down and the anticipation for the conference tournament builds. Syracuse earned its third straight win as the Orange took down the Pittsburgh Panthers for the second time this season and earned win no. 20 on the season. The Orange secured the 62-53 win primarily thanks to some Panther foul trouble.
The Orange capture their 20th win of the season!— 'Cuse Women's Hoops (@CuseWBB) February 20, 2018
Syracuse has posted 20+ wins in nine consecutive seasons. pic.twitter.com/ad2vwwR7db
Syracuse (20-7, 8-6 ACC) has matched its regular season win total from last season. The Orange posted a 20-9 regular season record and a 2-2 overall postseason record during the 2016-17 season. Considering head coach Quentin Hillsman began the season with one returning starter and is starting two true freshmen and two transfers, this is quite the accomplishment for the program.
Syracuse gained some national traction over the week, earning a bump from a No. 10 seed to a projected No. 7 seed in ESPN’s Charlie Creme’s bracketology following the team’s upset win over No. 17 Duke on Thursday.
This win, along with another potential one at North Carolina on Thursday, could solidify the Orange’s presence in the NCAA Tournament.
Orange forward Digna Strautmane led the charge in scoring for Syracuse on Monday. The freshman posted 16 points on 6-of-13 shooting. Strautmane made a difference in the third quarter, scoring 10 of her points in that frame.
Orange guard Miranda Drummond followed with 15 points — her third game of scoring at least 12 points out of the last four.
Syracuse point guard and the NCAA’s leader in assists and assists per game, Tiana Mangakahia, finished with only five dimes on Monday. She did contribute 14 points for the Orange, including 10 scored in the fourth quarter.
Pitt (10-17, 2-12 ACC) out-shot Syracuse on Monday. The Panthers converted two more buckets on two less shot attempts. Despite this, Syracuse found alternative ways to score, particularly at the free throw line.
Syracuse converted 17-of-19 free throw attempts, compared to Pitt’s 6-of-9 conversions. Four of Pitt’s starters accumulated four fouls each throughout the game. In fact, Syracuse made more free throws (8) than field goals (5) in the fourth quarter to seal away the nine-point win.
Syracuse will head to Chapel Hill, N.C. to face the North Carolina Tar Heels on Thursday. Tip is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST.
Syracuse has two regular season games remaining on its 2017-18 schedule — the final contest being at home. Syracuse will wrap up the regular season at home versus Boston College on Sunday.
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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.