The Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team continued its hot streak on Sunday, beating the Virginia Tech Hokies, 75-73 in overtime. Syracuse (13-2, 2-0) has now won seven straight contests since falling to Minnesota in late November.
SU got off to a hot start down in Blacksburg, Va., taking a 24-15 lead after one quarter. However, the Hokies battled back to cut the advantage to just 32-29 at the half. The teams were tied after three, and then again at the end of regulation. Luckily, the Orange were able to outscore Tech, 8-6 in the extra period.
Following a tough game at Clemson last week, Tiana Mangakahia bounced back in a big way for Syracuse. She scored a game-high 27 points on 7-of-18 shooting — hitting three from beyond the arc, and 10 free throws. The stellar point guard also dished out nine assists and added six rebounds.
Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi (18 points) and Digna Strautmane (10) were the only other Syracuse players to score in double digits on the afternoon. As a team, SU hit just 37.7 percent of its shots, and only 21.4 percent of its threes (6-of-28). Strautmane led the Orange with 10 boards, and Miranda Drummond had nine.
Virginia Tech had its own 27-point scorer on the game, in Taylor Emery. Regan Magarity chipped in 18, while Aisha Sheppard added 13.
While it was a full team effort, you can also chalk up the win to a combination of Mangakahia and Djaldi-Tabdi. The two combined for 17 points in the back-and-forth fourth quarter, pushing Syracuse out to a 61-54 lead that was gradually whittled down in the final minutes. The Orange held a 67-65 lead with 14 seconds remaining, however the Hokies’ Taylor Emery hit the close jumper to tie it up again. Mangakahia couldn’t connect on a last-second shot, though, and the teams headed to overtime.
She’d do just fine in the extra frame, scoring four of Syracuse’s eight points — the highlight being a clutch three to earn a 74-71 advantage with just over 90 seconds to play. Tech cut the lead to one, but Mangakahia hit a free throw to make it 75-73. The Hokies missed a three-pointer that would’ve given them the lead with nine seconds left, and the Orange held on for the win.
Syracuse was ranked 14th in both polls last week, and could potentially move up again this time around. As always, though, the ACC is pretty deep. There are three conference teams ahead of the Orange in the rankings — Notre Dame, Louisville and NC State — with just one loss between them.
SU is back in action at the Carrier Dome this coming Sunday, January 13 — the team’s first home game since December 17. They’ll host North Carolina, currently just 9-7 on the season. After that, they’re back on the road to visit a Pitt team that lost by 56 to Notre Dame just last week.