The Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team bounced back from a 26-point loss in its last outing against Notre Dame, coming away with a 79-60 win over Morgan State on Wednesday inside the friendly confines of the Carrier Dome.
This matchup was a part of Syracuse’s 10-year alliance with the MEAC, where the Orange will play at least 50 games with MEAC opponents over the next ten years, including a football game with the Bears in 2029.
Syracuse overcame a turnover-riddled start to lead 24-12 after the first quarter and 34-18 at the half. The Bears made the game’s most embarrassing blunder, starting the second half with only four players on the court. SU opened up a 25-point advantage late in the third quarter and took a 59-37 lead into the final 10 minutes.
The Bears used an 8-0 run to cut the deficit to 61-45 with just under seven minutes left, but the Orange restored order and coasted home down the stretch.
A late three-point play got Kansas State transfer Christianna Carr her 1,000th career point. She finished with 17 points for coach Vonn Read’s team.
SU’s longest-tenured player, Teisha Hyman, led all scorers with a career-high 23 points. She had 17 of those in the first half and finished eight-for-15 from the floor. Maryland transfer Alaysia Styles had 12 points, and Texas Tech transfer Naje Murray added 10.
Syracuse shot 41 percent from the floor but just five-of-20 from three. They earned their points at the charity stripe, finishing 20-for-24 on the night.
Morgan State (0-4) came into the game off blowout losses to a top-five Stanford team and a solid Missouri squad. The Bears were picked second in the MEAC preseason coaches poll but are punching well above their weight class in the early non-conference schedule, even against a completely new-look Orange team.
Morgan State came into the game ranked 341st out of 347 Division I teams in shooting percentage. They put together their best shooting performance of the season, finishing 36 percent from the field. If they hadn’t struggled to a seven-for-31 effort in the first half, they might have been able to put a little more pressure on the home team.
The Bears also didn’t do themselves any favors by giving the ball away 23 times.
Syracuse enjoyed a size advantage that they won’t have in the Bahamas and against stiffer ACC competition. They outrebounded Morgan State 48-40 and finished with 40 points in the paint. ‘Cuse still has plenty of things it needs to improve if it wants to be competitive in in the Battle 4 Atlantis, however.
The Orange came into the game averaging 20.5 giveaways over their first two contests. They turned it over five times in the first five minutes and finished right on their average with 20 more turnovers tonight.
When they pressed, they forced a few turnovers but Morgan State also capitalized for some easy layups. The Bears outscored the Orange 15-9 on second-chance points and hung right with their hosts on the offensive glass.
Syracuse will also need to shoot better than 25 percent from deep if it wants to compete against the more talented competition it will face over the weekend.
If a MEAC team can expose some of these flaws, the Cuse might be in for a tough time in the Bahamas, where four top-25 teams (including UConn) will compete in the eight-team tournament.
The Orange’s opening game in the Bahamas comes against No. 23 South Florida on Saturday at 2:30 p.m ET. If Syracuse can manage to win that one, it would likely face the Huskies the following day.