One step forward, two steps backwards.
The Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team never stood a chance Saturday afternoon against a below-.500 Virginia Cavaliers basketball team. SU started off about as ice cold as you could get, missing their first eight shots from the field. Luckily, the ‘Cuse finally found some offense as they finished the first quarter 5-9 from the field. They only trailed 14-10 going into the break. Both teams failed to make any three pointers, and UVA went 4-for-4 from the charity stripe while the Orange didn’t make it their at all.
The scoring would continue to sputter for both teams as the second came around. Kiara Lewis and Emily Engstler couldn’t get going at all, but defensively they didn’t look bad as a group. Even though they shot 5-12 from the field in the 2nd quarter, the Hoos turned the ball over 9 times. The sloppy play kept Syracuse in it, because the Orange would only garnish 9 points in the ten minutes of play. Cuse down 28-19 at half. You could swallow that pill against a team from the top of the ACC, but not against a team like Virginia.
Neither team looked particularly good this game, and that didn’t stop as the second half came around. Both teams shot a combined 0-for-10 from long range in the third frame, and for Syracuse, a team that relies so heavily on the outside shot, looked frustrated and the time kept dwindling down without a serious run. Shooting 4-of-13 from the field as a whole did not bode well against Virginia who would keep pace with the Orange, shooting 6-of-15 from the field. Cavaliers outscored Syracuse 12-10 in the third. As the fourth rolled around, the Orange once again failed to hit from deep, going 0-for-6. They really wouldn’t even flirt with a comeback bid, and as the seconds dwindled off, Virginia got a pretty good win, and Syracuse got a terrible loss. Virginia 57, Syracuse 41. The Orange shot 3-for-14 from the field in the final quarter to go along with turning it over 5 times.
Strautmane and Engstler made up for nearly half the points for Syracuse as they both totaled 10 points. Kiara Lewis would tally just 2 points for the Orange. Virginia was led by Jocelyn Willoughby who tallied 24 points.
This wasn’t very fun for Orange fans, and I fear this is how the rest of the year is likely going to go. Even with the struggles Syracuse has faced this year, they should beat teams like Virginia based solely on the talent gap between the two teams. Syracuse will be back in action Thursday, February 6 at Boston College.