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Syracuse women’s basketball: what to watch for vs. Colgate

The Orange will look to stop the Raiders’ efficient offense at home.

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

After a 23-point victory in its season-opener, the Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team is back at home for its second game of the season.

The Orange (1-0) will be taking on the Colgate Raiders (1-0) Thursday night at the JMA Wireless Dome in a rematch from last season. In that game last December, Syracuse defeated Colgate 79-57.

Syracuse’s game against Colgate begins Thursday night at 7 pm in the JMA Wireless Dome and it will be streamed on ACCNX via ESPN+.

The Raiders will enter this game coming off a 14-point home victory against Cornell. Last season, the Raiders finished just 6-24 on the year, including a 4-14 record against the Patriot League.

As for the Orange, the team is looking to win back-to-back games for the first time since early February of last season.

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

With Syracuse looking to get off to a strong start this season, here are three things to watch for heading into Thursday night’s game.

Question #1: How will the Syracuse defense fare against Colgate’s offense?

Against Cornell, the Raiders were led by an efficient performance from Taylor Golembiewski, who dropped 22 points on 8/17 shooting and 4/10 from three. Last season, Golembiewski averaged just above 10 points per game, but in the opener, she looked like the Raiders' go-to player on offense.

Colgate shot 50% from the field and 5/18 from three in their season opener. The Raiders don’t run in transition, but they do play slow and smart. Don’t expect much of a high-scoring affair in Thursday’s game against Syracuse. Expect the Raiders to also come into the game with an egalitarian offense, as the team got 24 points off its bench against Cornell.

The Orange’s defense was the main story of the night in their first win against Stony Brook. Let’s see if that defensive performance was an anomaly or the start of a culture head coach Felisha Legette-Jack is looking to build this season.

Question #2: Who wins the possession battle?

Comparing the two teams, Syracuse will have the rebounding and possession advantage against a smaller, slower Colgate team.

But, the key for tonight will be who controls the tempo. Against the Seawolves, the Orange were able to turn defense into offense by pushing the ball up the court and generating fastbreak opportunities. If the Raiders can keep the turnovers low, it’ll be tough to rely on easy points in transition.

If that’s the case, Syracuse will need to look for some help on the interior. Second-chance points and controlling the glass will be critical for the Orange to get a win against the Raiders.

Question #3: How will the perimeter play look tonight?

Dyaisha Fair will come out aggressive as always, looking to push the ball and get the team going on offense. But, keep an eye out for Syracuse’s Teisha Hyman.

Hyman will have a favorable matchup against a team like Colgate that plays more in the half-court. Her size will allow her to attack the basket and operate in isolation situations.

In the Orange’s first game, Hyman settled into a secondary and even tertiary role on offense. Expect her to come out aggressive from tip-off.