clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Syracuse women’s basketball: can transfer Dyaisha Fair take the Orange to new heights?

Pretty soon, the women’s basketball world will know who Dyaisha Fair is.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Syndication: The Knoxville News-Sentinel Calvin Mattheis/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

Heading into this season, one thing’s for sure with Syracuse Orange women’s basketball: the team owns one of the NCAA’s hidden gems.

In The Athletic’s list of most intriguing women’s college basketball players, Syracuse transfer Dyaisha Fair ranked in the top 25. The Buffalo transfer joined the team alongside a handful of other former Bulls players and new head coach Felisha Legette-Jack.

On paper, Fair is a perfect fit for the Orange. If the dream translates into a reality, Syracuse possesses one of the highest upside guards in the NCAA.

So what specifically makes Dyaisha Fair intriguing? Let’s break it down by the numbers.

Elite three-leveled scorer

Dyaisha Fair’s biggest appeal is her ability as a well-rounded scorer. After three years in college, Fair has proven to be one of the best point-getters in women’s college basketball:

Dyaisha Fair Career Scoring

Seasons Played Games Played Minutes PPG FG% 3FG% FT%
Seasons Played Games Played Minutes PPG FG% 3FG% FT%
2019-2020 30 36.1 22 37.2 31.4 71.8
2020-2021 24 36.4 24.1 36.5 31.6 81
2021-2022 34 37.4 23.4 40.4 36.8 81.6
Career 29.3 36.6 23.2 38 34.1 78.1

There’s a lot to unpack with her career so far, but the most impressive fact about Fair’s offense is how large the sample size is and the consistency over 88 college games.

Last season, Fair was 4th in the NCAA in points scored per game while shooting nearly 37% from three and close to 82% from the line. For the first time in her career, she also shot above 40% from the field after below-40% marks in her first two years with the Bulls. Considering her role (basically the primary option last season for Buffalo) and her volume (she was one of Buffalo’s main shot creators), the efficiency stands out even more.

The best part: Fair’s scoring translated to success for Buffalo. In 2021-2022, the Bulls finished second in the Mid-American Conference with a 16-4 record in conference play. Overall, Buffalo had a 25-9 overall record. Both Coach Legette-Jack and Fair were two of the biggest reasons behind the Bulls’ success last season.

Syndication: Journal-Courier Nikos Frazier | Journal & Courier via Imagn Content Services, LLC

The real question is whether that success on offense can translate from the MAC to the ACC. Last season, Buffalo was 0-2 against AP Top 25 teams. Against those teams (Tennesee and South Carolina), Fair’s numbers look similar compared to her career averages: 23.5 PPG, 5.0 APG, and 41.5% from the field. But, Buffalo lost against both those teams by an average of 20.5 points. In other words, against tough competition, the wins didn’t necessarily translate.

There’s also concern over Fair’s 2021-2022 efficiency. After shooting in the mid-30s from the field, Fair was above 40%. From three, Fair shot 31.5% in her first two seasons but chipped in 36.8% last year. Scoring efficiency tends to fluctuate, and the question facing Fair is if her shooting regresses to the mean, especially when facing tougher ACC opponents.

Syracuse will gladly take that chance since the Orange were in dire need of a jolt on offense. The team finished in the middle of the pack in the ACC last season in scoring. Throughout her career, Fair’s play demonstrates her ability to get to the line, create her own shot, and be a willing shooter from behind the arc. With some more help at guard, Fair looks to be an intriguing piece for Syracuse on the offensive side of the court.

Fair’s defensive potential

Defense remains the biggest question mark for Dyaisha Fair.

With Buffalo, Fair averaged 2.6 steals per game across three seasons, including a year (2020-2021) where she averaged 3 steals a night. Fair’s wingspan and effort have allowed her to play passing lanes, force turnovers, and get the team out in transition.

But at 5’5”, Fair projects to be small for her position, especially if she starts at shooting guard for Syracuse. The Orange ranked as one of the worst defenses in the ACC in 2021-2022, giving up 74.8 PPG per contest:

Worst WBB Defenses in ACC (2021-2022)

Most PPG Allowed Per ACC Team (2021-2022) PPG Allowed W-L Record
Most PPG Allowed Per ACC Team (2021-2022) PPG Allowed W-L Record
Syracuse 74.8 11-18
Clemson 70.7 10-21
Virginia 65.5 5-22
Boston College 65.5 21-12
Pittsburgh 65.1 11-19

The Orange were especially prone to second-chance opportunities, poor rebounding, and letting opponents attack the basket basically at will.

Compared to the MAC, the ACC will feature tougher matchups for Fair. If she can just survive on the perimeter while maintaining her effort on defense, Syracuse should be able to deal with the lack of size, especially with new additions in the frontcourt.

Outlook for 2022-2023

While there are a handful of questions, Dyaisha Fair projects to be an impact player for the Orange. Coach Legette-Jack knows Fair well, and Fair will fit tremendously under the former Buffalo coach’s system.

Fair appears to be one of the starters for the Orange heading into next season. With a couple of exhibition games on the way and a relatively easy schedule to start the year, adjustment will not be a concern for her.

How Fair will play against the ACC is the biggest question left to answer for Syracuse. Based on skill set and sample size, it appears that will be answered sooner rather than later.

A new era of Syracuse women’s basketball is just weeks from beginning under coach Legette-Jack’s control. If all goes well, Dyaisha Fair’s play will be the first chapter in what seems to be a promising season for the Orange.