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Syracuse women’s basketball: aggressive defense fuels 24-point win over Colgate

Syracuse’s winning ways continue to start the season.

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

One down, and many more games to go. That’s the mentality the Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team came into Thursday night’s game versus the Colgate Raiders.

The Orange took down the Stony Brook Seawolves 79-56 in Felisha Legette-Jack’s first official game as head coach. Colgate entered Thursday’s matchup coming off a 62-48 against Cornell in the Raiders’ season-opening game.

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

Coach Legette-Jack’s starting lineup against Colgate was Dyaisha Fair (G), Teisha Hyman (G), Alaina Rice (G), Dariauna Lewis (F), and Asia Strong (F).

From the jump, Syracuse got off to a strong start, shooting 7/10 from the field. Teisha Hyman nailed the Orange its first basket of the game, but it was a balanced attack from the Orange in the first quarter, with five different Syracuse players hitting at least two baskets.

But for Syracuse, it was the defense that paved the way for a dominant performance out of the gate. Colgate went scoreless in the last six minutes of the first quarter and the Orange jumped out to a 20-6 lead at the end of the first.

Colgate nailed a trio of threes to keep the game close, but Syracuse continued to pull forward and keep their double-digit lead, generating good shots in the paint and attacking the Raiders’ undersized perimeter defense in the second quarter.

At halftime, the Orange led the way 37-21 against the Raiders. Dyaisha Fair led the way for the Orange with 7 points, followed by 6 points each for Hyman, Asia Strong, and Kyra Wood.

A pair of threes from Alaina Rice and a nice drive inside by Fair extended Syracuse’s lead against Colgate to 26 points by the end of the third.

Syracuse defeated Colgate 72-48 en route to their second win of the season and their first back-to-back win stretch since February. After Thursday’s game, the Orange move to 16-0 all-time against Colgate’s women’s basketball team.

Rice led the way for Syracuse with 16 points on 6/7 shooting, including hitting both of her three-point attempts. Fair and Dariauna Lewis each scored in double-figures, while forward Saniaa Wilson chipped in 10 points, 2 rebounds, and 3 blocks in just 11 minutes of action off of the Orange’s bench.

Jenna Paul (18 points) and Taylor Golembiewski (10 points) were the only players who scored in double-figures for the Raiders. In total, Syracuse forced Colgate into shooting just 28% from the field as a team.

Syracuse vs. Stony Brook by the numbers:

  1. Syracuse was only 3/15 from downtown, but the team still shot 47% from the field.
  2. The Orange attacked the basket relentlessly against the Raiders, which resulted in a final stat line of 15/20 from the foul line.
  3. Once again, Syracuse dominated on the boards, finishing with a +18 rebounding margin against Colgate.
  4. Thursday night was a defensive coming-out party for the Orange, as the team finished with 9 blocks and 10 steals.
  5. The Orange finished with 40 points in the paint

Biggest Takeaways of the Game:

The defense is looking good to start the season: Syracuse’s defense has taken a massive leap forward in the right direction to begin the year. In this game, something was different though. The intensity was through the roof, and the effort was consistent for all 40 minutes of action.

The results bore out in the numbers: only two players scored at least 10 points for the Raiders, and the team made just 18 field goals on 64 attempts against ‘Cuse.

The Orange’s forward depth shows its’ potential: Against Colgate, both Kyra Wood and Saniaa Wilson provided a spark off Syracuse’s bench. Wood and Wilson did an excellent job controlling the paint on both ends of the floor, particularly Wilson with her efficient post-scoring and Wood’s incredible defensive performance. Lewis submitted a 12-point, 10-rebound performance, her second double-double in a row. And although she struggled scoring, Asia Strong still gave Syracuse some quality two-way production.

Alaina Rice’s breakout game: Depth was a major theme for Thursday night’s victory against Colgate. Even with Fair and Hyman combining for just 16 points on 7/25 shooting, the rest of the team stepped up to the plate. Look no further than Alaina Rice, who finished as the Orange’s best scorer with 16 points alongside 6 rebounds and 3 assists.

This game is a testament to the team mentality coach Legette-Jack was looking to build before the season. The Orange have some legit optionality on their roster, and that could go a long way as the 2022-2023 campaign continues.

Next game on the agenda:

After back-to-back 20-plus point wins at home, the Orange will look to reach their third-straight win against the Binghamton Bearcats at home on Monday evening. Binghamton currently sits at 2-0 after defeating the Army 76-61 on Thursday night.

Can the Orange make it three in a row?