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Syracuse women’s basketball defeats Florida State at the buzzer, 68-67 to advance to ACC Semifinals

Freshman Kamilla Cardoso scored the game-winning layup to send the Orange to the ACC Semifinals

3.5.21 | Syracuse basketball at ACC Tournament versus Florida State.
3.5.21 | Syracuse basketball at ACC Tournament versus Florida State.
Photo by Syracuse Athletics

The Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team (14-7) stunned the Florida State Seminoles (10-8) in the quarterfinal round of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum, 68-67. With five seconds left on the clock and down one point, freshman Kamilla Cardoso grabbed the offensive rebound off a missed Kiara Lewis three and made the layup to win the game. Syracuse will advance to the semifinals Saturday versus No. 5 ranked Louisville.

Emily Engstler also made an incredible, half court buzzer-beating shot to bring the Orange within one score at the end of the third quarter. ‘Cuse trailed the entire game until Cardoso’s winning bucket.

Cardoso led the team with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Lewis (12 pts), Digna Strautmane (11), Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi (11), and Engstler (10) also contributed double-figure scoring for Syracuse in the win.


For the second straight game, Tiana Mangakahia did not play due to a lower-body injury suffered versus NC State last Sunday. Coach Quentin Hillsman said she could have played, but sat her out for precautionary measures. Taleah Washington, Kiara Fisher, Khamya McNeal, and Faith Blackstone were also unavailable once again because of a violation of team rules (did not travel).

Starting Five: Emily Engstler, Kamilla Cardoso, Kiara Lewis, Digna Strautmane, and Priscilla Williams

Florida State opened the game with a 9-0 run to lead Syracuse at the seven-minute mark of the first quarter. ‘Cuse committed four turnovers during FSU’s four-minute run. The Seminoles gained a double-digit advantage at 3:34 and continued to grow their lead into the second quarter, 22-8. Syracuse went 3-17 from the field and 0-5 from three in the first frame. Amaya Finklea-Guity and Cardoso tallied four points each in the quarter.

A 5-0 ‘Cuse run midway through the second frame cut the FSU lead to nine, 29-20. At 2:50 of the quarter, Priscilla Williams left the game on a stretcher with an upper-body injury. She had movement in all of her limbs and was awake & responsive. Florida State led Syracuse 39-27 at halftime.

The Orange shot 29% from the field and 15% from three in the first half, compared to the Seminoles 54% and 33%. Syracuse committed seven turnovers, while forcing six Florida State mistakes. Lewis, Strautmane, and Finklea-Guity led ‘Cuse with six points each at halftime.

Syracuse and Florida State traded shots throughout the third quarter. A 9-2 ‘Cuse run brought the Orange within six points of the FSU lead, 53-47, at 2:21. An unbelievable half court buzzer-beating three-pointer from Engstler cut the Florida State edge to 55-52 to end the third quarter.

Another three-pointer from Engstler tied the game at 55-all to open the final quarter of play. Florida State went on a 7-0 run to go up 62-55 at 6:20. Syracuse answered back and came within one point of the lead with a trey from Djaldi-Tabdi, 67-66, at 1:23. With five seconds left on the clock and down one point, Cardoso grabbed the offensive rebound off a missed Lewis three and made the layup to send the Orange to the semifinals. ‘Cuse held FSU scoreless in the final three minutes of the game.


  • Syracuse shot 38.3% from the field and 22.2% from three. Florida State shot 44.1% from the field and 38.5% from three. The Orange committed 14 turnovers in the game and forced nine Seminole mistakes.
  • ‘Cuse held the advantage in total rebounds (41-32), defensive rebounds (24-21), offensive rebounds (17-11), second chance points (14-11), points in the paint (32-28), and blocks (7-2). FSU held the advantage in points off turnovers (13-8), fast break points (5-3), steals (12-3), and assists (15-8).
  • Cardoso shot 5-9 from the field and 6-9 from the free throw line. She also contributed two blocks, a steal, and an assist.
  • Lewis was a perfect 6-6 from the free throw line. She tallied four assists, four rebounds, and a block.
  • Strautmane shot 4-0 from the field and 3-8 from three. She grabbed five rebounds and blocked a shot.
  • Djaldi-Tabdi went a perfect 4-4 from the free throw line. She tallied seven rebounds, two blocks, a steal, and an assist.
  • Engstler shot 4-8 from the field and 2-4 from three. She also grabbed five rebounds and dished out two assists.
  • Finklea-Guity was a perfect 4-4 from the field for eight points. She also tallied four rebounds, a block, and a steal.
  • Bianca Jackson led the Seminoles with 25 points.


Positive: Wow. One of the most exciting games from Syracuse this season. Despite the injuries to Williams & Mangakahia and the shortened bench, the Orange were able to piece together a win and advance through the tournament.

Negative: Coach Q said after the game that Mangakahia will not play against Louisville. A re-match with the Cardinals is tough enough, but without two starters, Syracuse will have to scratch and claw into the championship game.

No. 5-seed Syracuse will play No. 1-seed Louisville on Saturday at 12 p.m. EST on ACC Network. The Cardinals defeated Wake Forest on Friday morning, 65-53, to advance to the semifinals. The Orange lost to the then-ranked No. 1 Louisville in the KFC YUM! Center on Jan. 21, 54-67. Emily Engstler tallied 16 points and 11 rebounds off the bench in the loss. In other ‘Cuse news, Fan voting is now live for Mangakahia as the Nancy Lieberman Top Point Guard Award.