Playing their second game in two days, a not-particularly-deep Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team lost its legs in the second half of a 70-63 defeat to the Minnesota Golden Gophers at the Battle 4 Atlantis.
Syracuse only shot 30 percent in the second half and endured a seven-minute field goal drought that spanned most of the fourth quarter. They only made two of their final 14 shots from the field.
The Orange (2-3) shot 23-for-72 from the field and 7-for-22 from the three-point range. They made 10-out-of-11 foul shots and played a relatively clean game, turning it over eight times. They were overmatched on the glass and lost the rebounding battle 50-33 against a bigger Minnesota team.
Chrislyn Carr led the Orange with 18 points on 7-of-15 shooting. Christianna Carr added 16 and Naje Murray was the third Syracuse player in double-figures with 14.
Minnesota (4-2) made 22-of-56 shots from the floor and nine-of-26 from three. A 17-for-19 effort from the foul line helped them hold on to a late lead. Their large rebounding margin helped them make up for a sloppy 20 turnover performance.
One-time Syracuse player Kadiatou Sissoko led all scorers with 23 points and secured a double-double with 13 rebounds. Sara Scalia contributed with 17 and Deja Winters chipped in with 16.
After falling behind 8-0 early on, the Orange pulled themselves back into the game to lead 31-29 at halftime. They successfully spaced the floor against a much bigger Gophers team, driving to the basket and scoring 18 points in the paint. The 2-3 zone forced Minnesota into 10 first-half turnovers, while the Orange played a relatively clean half, only giving it away three times.
The Orange only had six players play substantial minutes in the first half after head coach Vonn Read deployed a seven-player rotation in yesterday’s loss to USF. Minnesota had ten players play double-digit minutes in their loss against UConn and continually cycled players in and out during the first half.
The difference showed.
After Alaysia Styles nailed a three to give the Orange a 36-32 early in the third quarter, the Gophers set to work flipping the momentum. Eight straight points gave them a four-point lead, and 11 of the next 15 had the Gophers up 51-40 with three minutes left in the third.
Christianna Carr cut the deficit to 53-48 with a minute left in the period, but a three-point play from Alanna Micheaux gave Minnesota a 56-48 lead with 10 minutes left.
The shots stopped going in altogether for the Orange in the fourth. A three from Sara Scalia gave the Gophers a 64-53 lead with 3:13 left in the game. Jasmine Powell converted a three-point play to put Minnesota up 67-57 with 90 seconds left.
The Orange will face either Buffalo or Oklahoma in the seventh-place game tomorrow evening. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the Imperial Arena. If Syracuse draws the Bulls, it means a reunion with Buffalo head coach Felisha Legette-Jack, who recently became the first female athlete to have her number retired at the Carrier Dome.