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Syracuse women’s basketball escapes Pittsburgh, 71-67

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Kamilla Cardoso and Kiara Lewis led all scorers with 22 points each

NCAA Womens Basketball: Pittsburgh at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team (11-4, 8-4 ACC) overcame a 15-point deficit to defeat the Pittsburgh Panthers (4-7, 2-6 ACC) Sunday on the road, 71-67. Syracuse has won the last 20 match-ups against Pitt.

Kamilla Cardoso and Kiara Lewis led all scorers with 22 points each. Cardoso also added eight rebounds and Lewis tallied four assists. Emily Engstler contributed 13 points and eight rebounds, while Tiana Mangakahia dished out 11 assists.

Recap

Tiana Mangakahia, Kiara Lewis, Priscilla Williams, Digna Strautmane, and ACC Freshman of the Week Kamilla Cardoso started for ‘Cuse.

The Orange found themselves in a similar situation to their previous games this season: down early and needing to make a big comeback late. The team started the contest hot with a 5-0 run, but Pitt answered right back with a 14-1 run to end the first frame with a 14-6 advantage. Syracuse went 1-15 from the field in the first quarter, only sinking one field goal (a 3PT from Kiara Lewis). ‘Cuse committed seven turnovers in the opening quarter while Pitt committed eight.

A layup from Cardoso ended Syracuse’s field goal scoring drought that lasted from 8:21 of the first quarter to 7:03 of the second, 21-8 Pitt. A 7-4 Orange run cut the Panther lead to single digits, 25-16, at 3:32. A three from Engstler at the buzzer kept Syracuse within eight at halftime, 30-22 Pitt.

Syracuse shot 22.6 percent from the field and 23.1 percent from three in the first half, compared to Pitt’s 33.3 percent and 30.8 percent. The Orange went 5-6 from the free throw line in the opening half. ‘Cuse committed 12 turnovers and forced 11 Pitt turnovers. Syracuse had zero fast break points, while Pitt had 10 in the first half. Cardoso led the team with 10 points and six rebounds at halftime. In addition to Cardoso, only Lewis (5 pts), Engstler (4), and Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi (3) scored in the first half.

Syracuse came out of the locker room on fire, kick-starting a 7-0 run to cut the Pitt advantage to one, 30-29, at 8:01 of the third quarter. A pair of free throws from Lewis put her in double-digit scoring for the tenth time this season and kept ‘Cuse within three, 39-36 Pitt at 4:18. Four straight points from Lewis ended the third frame and gave Syracuse its first advantage since the first quarter, 49-47 Orange. Lewis had 13 of the team’s 27 points in the third. Syracuse shot 70 percent from the field and forced seven Pittsburgh turnovers in the frame.

Three straight Orange scores opened the final 10 minutes of play, 55-47 ‘Cuse at 9:13 of the fourth. Mangakahia scored her first points of the game at 3:11 of the final frame to keep the Orange in front, 64-59. A three from Pitt made it a one-point game, 68-67 ‘Cuse, with under a minute to play. Mangakahia sunk a pair of clutch free throws to push the Orange to a three-point advantage, 70-67, at 0:29. Engstler added another free throw at 0:05 to clinch the win for Syracuse, 71-67.

Stats

  • Syracuse shot 38.9 percent from the field and 35.3 percent from three in the win. Pitt shot 33.9 percent from the field and 30.4 percent from three. The Orange connected on a season-high 23 of their 33 free throw attempts (69.7). Syracuse dished out more assists (18-14) and outscored Pitt in bench points (20-17), on court points (45-40), and points off turnovers (22-20). The Panthers held the advantage in rebounds (42-34), fast break points (14-5), steals (11-10), points in the paint (26-20), and second chance points (23-13). Syracuse committed 18 turnovers and forced 19 Pitt turnovers.
  • Cardoso shot 7-14 from the field and connected on 8-11 of her free throw attempts. She also tallied a steal and an assist. For the first time this season, the freshman did not record a block.
  • Lewis scored 10 of her 22 points off free throws (went 10-12 from the charity stripe). She shot 41.7 percent from the field and was 2-5 from behind the arc. She also added two rebounds.
  • Mangakahia surpassed the 700-assist mark in the win. She is the first player in program history and sixth in ACC women’s basketball history to reach that mark. Mangakahia only attempted three shots in the game, making one, and was 2-4 from the free throw line. She also tallied five points, three rebounds, and two steals.
  • Williams tallied four rebounds, two points, two steals, and a block in the win.
  • Strautmane was 0-4 from the floor and grabbed one rebound.
  • Engstler also tallied three steals, two blocks, and two assists.
  • Djaldi-Tabdi (5 pts) and Taleah Washington (2) rounded out the scoring for the Orange.
  • Jayla Everett led the Panthers with 16 points.

Takeaways

Positive: Kiara Lewis! Prior to this game, Lewis shot 58.8 percent from the free throw line. Today? 10-12 on freebies. In a tight game, every single point matters. The Panthers knew to foul Lewis given her season mark, but she was on fire. The Orange would not have won today if Lewis did not sink those shots.

Negative: The team only recorded four blocks and Cardoso did not block a shot for the first time this season. Syracuse was also significantly beat on rebounds, 42-34. The Panthers held the advantage in both offensive (20-14) and defensive rebounds (22-20).

Next up, the Orange will travel to Florida State on Thursday, Feb. 11 for an 8 p.m. EST matchup on ACC Network.