Well, this is starting to not look so great...
The Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team faced off against Duke Thursday night, and on paper it looked like a pretty even matchup. Unfortunately, in front of a pretty decent crowd, the Orange were picked apart by the Blue Devils from start to finish, and from up and down the Duke bench.
At the 8:26 mark of the first quarter, Duke took a 4-2 lead after a Jade Williams layup, and they simply never looked back. Leaonna Odom had quick buckets to settle herself in, as she would be one of many hot shooters on the night. The Devils would take a 21-11 lead into the first frame, going 5-5 from the free throw line as well as shooting 53.8% from the field. Syracuse struggled offensively, turning the ball over 8 times in the first ten minutes. Slow starts have been somewhat of a trend for the Orange this year, but have recently struggled to go on sustained runs like they did earlier in the year. Duke got to work on the glass in the second quarter, which helped them grow their lead.
Syracuse struggled to find the hot hand, as missed free throws and second chance points for the Devils ultimately led to the Orange demise. Mikayla Boykin came off the bench for Duke and had one of the best shooting performances I’ve seen so far this year. She knocked down four consecutive three pointers to silence the Dome, and all of a sudden it was a 49-26 game. A Strautmane jumper with under a minute left gave Duke a 49-28 lead going into halftime. Syracuse was just 1-7 from three point land in the second, as well as going just 4-10 from the charity stripe.
As the second half got under way, the Orange were able to get a little offense going. Gabrille Cooper knocked down consecutive buckets, but the Blue Devil scoring would keep coming as well. The quiet Dome watched a Duke twenty plus lead never dwindle, and as the game went into the fourth quarter, this game was already over. The fourth was a tough one to watch, as Syracuse would go just 2-14 from the field. Coach Q was visibly frustrated, as well as the players both on the court and the bench. Duke would walk away with this one by a score of 88-58, Syracuse’s largest margin of defeat so far this season. The Orange went from losing tight games against quality opponents, to getting blown out on their home floor in back to back games against unranked teams.
Kiara Lewis led Syracuse with 14 points and 5 assists. Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi would score 12 points and grabbed 3 rebounds and 3 blocks. Leaonna Odom led the Blue Devils with 23 points, followed by Haley Gorecki with 19. Syracuse will be back in action Sunday against Wake Forest in Winston-Salem.
As we all know, the season is far from over. Big games still remain on the schedule as well as the ACC tournament, but this thing looks to be taking a sharp turn. Syracuse is playing to the best of their ability given terrible circumstances brought amongst them before the season even started.
The next three games are crucial for Syracuse if they can regroup. They will face Wake Forest on the road, Virginia Tech at home, and then travel to UVA.
In some good Syracuse women’s hoops news, the Orange will have two incoming players playing in the McDonald’s All-American game. Karmilla Cardoso and Priscilla Williams will represent the Orange in Houston on April 1. To put the importance of these big time players into perspective, UConn has two players playing in this game as well. It does seem like Coach Q is closing the recruiting gap between the blue bloods and the contenders.