For the second consecutive night, an undefeated Big Ten team came into the Carrier Dome and left with its first loss of the season. On Wednesday night, the Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team scored a huge upset win over No. 18 Ohio State, downing the Buckeyes 97-91 in a fast-paced contest.
The question surrounding this Orange team filled with newcomers was when it would gel. A 26-point loss at home to Notre Dame and a winless trip to the Bahamas didn’t provide any encouraging answers. On Wednesday, we saw what this team could be.
Syracuse outscored Ohio State by ten points in the second half, building an 87-74 lead with just over two minutes left. The Buckeyes did their best to extend the game, but after what seemed like an eternity, the buzzer sounded and celebration ensued.
Teisha Hyman had herself a night, setting a new career-high with 30 points on 12-for-18 shooting, including a 4-of-6 effort from deep.
The Orange went down 15-3 in the early going. The Buckeyes came into the night with an average margin of victory of 36 points. It looked like things might be headed for blowout territory once again. Syracuse pulled itself together and behind Hyman, scrapped back into the game.
Hyman gave Syracuse a 31-30 lead with a layup in the second quarter, and the Orange went into the locker down one possession at 39-36.
Chrislyn Carr finished with 22 points, all of which came in the final 11:27 of game action. She shot 12-for-14 from the free-throw line. It was a rare game where the Orange got to the charity stripe at an effective rate. They came into the game shooting 55 percent as a team but connected on 22 of their 26 attempts.
A back-and-forth sequence where the tempo really picked up saw Syracuse begin to build a lead. Hyman hit a three to put her team up 59-57, and Alaina Rice, SU’s only player to see action off the bench, converted a layup to make it 65-58 going into the fourth.
Carr really began to get cooking in the fourth. She scored nine consecutive Orange points to put ‘Cuse up 76-65 with 5:43 left. She helped get more separation hitting three-of-four from the foul line after Ohio State’s Kateri Poole drew a technical for disagreeing with a call.
The Buckeyes drew to within 89-82 with 1:26 left, but the Orange, who haven’t played in many close games, handled the pressure. They did not execute perfectly against Ohio State’s press, but they made crucial free throws and never let the visitors get too close for comfort.
Syracuse (4-4) turned in one of its best shooting performances of the year against one of the better opponents it will play this season. The Orange shot 51 percent from the field and made nine-of-23 from deep.
Naje Murray added a somewhat quiet 21 points and stuffed the stat sheet with seven rebounds and five assists. Alaysia Styles battled foul trouble, but managed 10 points and six boards on the evening.
The Orange managed to hang in on the glass, only losing the rebounding battle by four against a bigger team.
Ohio State struggled to match Syracuse’s pace and intensity. They shot 47 percent on the night and 10-of-31 from three-point range.
Hardly anybody saw this win coming. And now it has the potential to turn Syracuse’s season into something meaningful. Despite early struggles this year, the Orange showed that they could compete and win against ranked competition. Does that mean it will win 20 games? No, but as the team continues to gel, they have shown that they won’t be a pushover in the ACC either.
After a bitter couple of weeks, there is excitement around Orange basketball again. Syracuse returns to action when it hosts Central Connecticut State on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET.