The No. 17 Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team picked up one of its best wins of the season on Thursday night, beating the No. 21 Florida State Seminoles 94-88 on the road. With the victory, SU moves to 21-7 overall and 10-5 in the ACC.
The road win grabs the headlines for the Orange, but it wouldn’t have happened without a phenomenal night from star point guard Tiana Mangakahia. She tied a career high with 44 points, while adding eight assist and five boards. Mangakahia is one of just a handful of Syracuse basketball (men’s or women’s) players to ever score over 40 points in a game — and she’s done so multiple times in her time at SU.
Syracuse dashed out to a 22-18 lead in the first quarter, then found the advantage trimmed to just one at the half, 40-39. The Orange led by seven after three, then fought off the ‘Noles to keep the lead late.
Mangakahia was one of just three Syracuse players to score in double digits, with Digna Strautmane and Kiara Lewis each putting up 10. Strautmane also tied for the team lead in rebounds with six along with Kadiatou Sissoko. As a team, the Orange shot the lights out all evening, hitting 62.1 percent of their tries overall and 44.4 percent from three. Key in that last number was the fact that they only made nine attempts from outside... a surprising turn of events for a team that was struggling from beyond the arc for awhile yet continued to take outside shots anyway.
With the win, Syracuse earns itself the fifth seed in the ACC Tournament by way of taking the tiebreaker with FSU (now 9-6). NC State sits above the Orange in fourth for the double bye, but with the head-to-head tiebreaker (via a 77-73 win earlier this month) there’s nowhere else for SU to go.
The Orange have one more game this season at Boston College on Sunday, March 3. If Syracuse can impress the NCAA Tournament selection committee enough to end the year (maybe with a couple wins in the conference tournament), they might just be back at the Carrier Dome for the opening round(s) of March Madness. ESPN had SU as a five-seed in its latest bracketology.