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Syracuse WBB beats Virginia in ACC Tournament 67-50

The Orange advance to play Louisville

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 05 ACC Women’s Tournament - Syracuse v Virginia Photo by William Howard/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

You know what they say this time of year. Survive and advance.

The Syracuse Orange Women’s basketball team did just that on Thursday afternoon, as their stifling defense thwarted the Virginia Cavaliers 67-50.

This one looked good out of the gates as neither team was able to separate from one another in the first ten minutes. Syracuse got scoring from all over the court, but Orange bigs Amaya Finklea-Guity and Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi would get hot early to open up some outside shooting later on. An acrobatic three point play by Kiara Lewis with 2:20 left in the quarter tied the game at 18, but both teams went cold in the last two minutes as just one field goal was scored by Finklea-Guity, and the Orange led 20-18 after one. Emily Engstler got things going for the ‘Cuse in the second as she knocked down two consecutive threes on what looked to be massive miscommunication by UVA on both possessions, as she was wide open for both. This was all part of a 10-4 run that gave the Orange a 30-22 lead. Virginia started to stall on offense as well, and turnovers began to plague them as Syracuse was able to get out and run on the fast break. Virginia was able to hit back to back buckets before in the last minute to narrow the gap, but Syracuse still led going into the locker room 38-33.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 05 ACC Women’s Tournament - Syracuse v Virginia Photo by William Howard/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The two teams battled closely in the first half of the third quarter, but a Jocelyn Willoughby free throw brought it to a three point game at 44-41 with 6:15 left in the quarter. Gabrielle Cooper came up with a timely three on the following possession to put the lead back at 6. Syracuse had a step ahead the whole quarter, but the Cavaliers were doing everything just to hang around. Dominique Touissant beat the buzzer at the end of the quarter, but Syracuse still maintained a 6 point advantage going into the final frame.

The ‘Cuse threw the first punch in the fourth quarter as Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi knocked down two free throws, followed by a three Digna Strautmane. Virginia’s offense completely fell apart, as they couldn’t buy a bucket. The minutes ticked off the clock and Syracuse was having good possession after good possession. Kiara Lewis and Gabrielle Cooper were able to dribble this one away. The Cavaliers sealed their own fate by scoring just three fourth quarter points, and the Orange took this one 67-50 to win their first game in the ACC Tournament. Three fourth quarter points is the fewest points Syracuse allowed in a quarter all year.

The Orange forced 26 turnovers on this one, which was the most turnovers Virginia let up all year. Syracuse was able to score 30 of their 67 points off of turnovers. Five Orange players were in double figures. Amaya Finklea-Guity led all scorers with 15 points and 4 rebounds. Gabrielle Cooper and Emily Engstler each had 13 points, and Engstler came down with 7 boards in the victory. Kiara Lewis had 11 points and dished out 6 assists. Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi tallied 10 points and took 4 charges on the day. Digna Strautmane was a force on the defensive end, as she had 7 blocks.

The Louisville Cardinals are next for the Orange on Friday afternoon. The ‘Cuse zone stifled Louisville in their last meeting in the Dome and won 59-51. Way back in December, Louisville could barely handle Syracuse in the Yum! Center but squeaked out a victory thanks to a late game offensive rebound, 62-58.

The two teams will face off Friday at 2:00pm ET in the Greensboro Coliseum. The game will be broadcast regionally on the YES Network. Let’s keep this thing going!