The Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team was able to weather a big start from West Virginia, but would be edged out in the final seconds.
The Orange struggled to really get anything going early, which this team had struggled with earlier in the season. West Virginia took advantage of the cold shooting, and turned it into a 20-6 advantage after the first quarter. The Mountaineers’ balanced scoring attack could’ve led to a long day, but one thing we know about this team is that they will not quit.
West Virginia added five straight points at the start of the second quarter, but Syracuse would then settle in a bit and get some scoring going. Kiara Lewis helped Syracuse go on a 9-0 run midway through the frame, scoring seven of the nine points. Lewis was all over the place in the first half, scoring a total of 17 points, grabbing four boards and dishing out two assists. She kept Syracuse in this game. The Orange needed more help in this one as the second half started, and thankfully they got it.
Syracuse started scoring from all over, and this game was suddenly turned upside down. Djaldi-Tabdi started dominating the paint like she did against Michigan State, and Kiara Lewis kept her hot hand and made this a three point game as the third quarter was dwindling down, 52-49. Gabrielle Cooper would score a layup with twenty seconds left, and we had a one point ball game. Syracuse, like two days ago, was able to bend and not break, and be right there with another top 25 team. The Orange and Mountaineers battled all fourth quarter. Syracuse took the lead 69-68 in the last minute of the game, but West Virginia’s Tynice Martin and Kysre Gondreznick would hit some clutch free throws to put Syracuse away, just edging out the Cuse 71-69. You really felt Syracuse deserved to win this game after the first quarter, but the Mountaineers hit just enough shots to not blow this one.
Kiara Lewis was a star on the day. She scored a career high 32 points, nailing nine free throws and making just one three-point field goal. Syracuse was just 4-27 from beyond the arc, and Gabrielle Cooper, one of Syracuse’s best shooters, went 0-for-10. The Orange outscored West Virginia in the paint 26-12, but the Mountaineers got out and ran today, outscoring Syracuse 19-8 on fast break points. Amaya Finlea-Guity finished with 10 points today to go along with eight rebounds and three blocks. Tynice Martin led West Virginia with 24 points, which boded well with Kysre Gondreznick, who tallied 23 of her own.
If Syracuse doesn’t shoot so poorly from three today, they probably win this game even after the dreadful start. This team will be fine, and will be a tough out come ACC play. The Orange women will have a break for the holiday, will be back in action December 29 against Louisville at the KFC Yum! Center. The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN2.