A strong second half performance by Tiana Mangakahia and Digna Strautmane led Syracuse (22-7, 11-5) past Boston College (14-15, 3-13) in the regular season finale on Sunday. Syracuse’s 22 wins matches its total from last season, with the ACC and NCAA Tournament yet to begin.
It was defensive struggle in the first half, both teams combining for 59 points. After the first quarter, the score was tied at 15. SU was only 1-of-4 from three-point range, which is usually a key to helping the team get out to an early start.
Both teams were also sloppy with the ball in the first quarter. Syracuse had seven turnovers after the first 10 minutes and Boston College had six of their own. The Eagles were able to convert on the Syracuse turnovers, scoring nine of its 15 points off turnovers in quarter number one.
The second quarter was almost identical to the first. SU outscored Boston College 15-14 in the second quarter to take a 30-29 lead heading into the locker room.
Mangakahia struggled in the first half and finished 2-of-11 from the field, scoring only seven points. Strautmane led the team with eight points in the first half. Emma Guy was the only player on Boston College to score more than four points. She had 12 points and five rebounds at the half.
Syracuse began to build a lead in third quarter and Mangakahia found her rhythm and the Orange took a 53-45 into the fourth quarter. Boston College could not find their shot in the second half. The team shot just under 36 percent from the field in the last 20 minutes. The Eagles finished 4-of-13 from three-point range and 6-of-12 from the free throw line.
But Mangakahia caught fire in the second half. She finished with 27 points, 20 coming after halftime. Hitting from everywhere on the court, she shot 50 percent in the second half, including two of her three attempts from three-point range, and was a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line.
She was also able to get her teammates involved and finished with six assists in the second half as well. Mangakahia flirted with a triple-double once again. She finished with eight assists and seven rebounds to go along with her 27 points.
Strautmane was consistent all game. She finished with 16 points, eight coming in each half. She had a team-high nine rebounds and hit some key three-point shots to extend the Syracuse lead in the second half.
Guy finished with 18 points and nine rebounds to lead the Eagles. She had a good game, but thankfully for Orange fans, it wasn’t quiet the 30 point 14 rebound performance she had last month at the Carrier Dome.
Syracuse finished the regular season on a two game winning streak, with the ACC tournament set to begin on Wednesday in Greensboro, North Carolina. Syracuse will receive a bye for the first-round, as a top-6 seed in the tournament.
The Orange could see Boston College again, very soon. SU will play the winner of the Virginia versus Boston College game in the ACC Tournament on Thursday at noon ET.
Syracuse will look for a few statement wins the ACC tournament to improve their resume and to make a case to be a four-seed in the NCAA and potentially host the first two rounds in the Carrier Dome.