PITTSBURGH — The first of a two-game Syracuse Orange women’s basketball road trip went about as planned in the Steel City on Thursday, beginning the trip with an 82-50 win over the Pittsburgh Panthers (9-9, 0-4 ACC). The No. 12 Orange (15-2, 4-0 ACC) jet ahead of the Panthers in the third quarter and never looked back as forward Digna Strautmane brought out the super scope from deep range.
The Orange welcomed back a missed presence in its frontcourt on Thursday. After missing two months with a knee injury, guard/forward Kadiatou Sissoko returned to the Orange lineup as part of an 11-woman rotation for head coach Quentin Hillsman.
“It’s fantastic,” Coach Q commended Sissoko’s presence on the court. “She had a chance to feel some pressure and feel some game-like situations, so now we can get her more minutes... That’s half the battle, the mental part of it. She didn’t miss a beat.”
Sissoko finished with a pair of rebounds in five minutes of action — her first since November 23 versus Princeton.
As for the rest of the Orange, the frontcourt was the guiding light through the Oakland Zoo. Forward Digna Strautmane led the Orange in scoring with a season-high 22 points. She finished three points off of her career-high of 25 at Boston College almost a year ago to date.
“She had a very good summer with her nation team,” Q commented about Strautmane’s confidence from deep range. “She played on the perimeter some. You can see the confidence. When she’s open, we got to let her shoot it.”
In addition to Strautmane, Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi pitched in 16 points and eight rebounds in 20 bench minutes.
The Orange blew the game wide open in the third quarter, out-scoring the Panthers 28-8 with a 22-2 run that spanned 6:36 in the quarter. Strautmane scored nine points in the quarter.
Tiana Mangakahia, fresh off an NCAA.com Starting Five honor, bucketed 14 points and dished out eight assists in 26 minutes.
Syracuse makes a trip to Atlanta for an ACC bout with Georgia Tech (12-5, 2-2 ACC) on Sunday. Tip is scheduled for 2 p.m. EST. The Orange return to the Carrier Dome on Wednesday to face Miami (14-4, 2-1 ACC).
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