clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

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

It’s another early-season road test for the Orange.

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

Win or lose, the Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team will be cemented in the history books after its matchup Wednesday evening against the Purdue Boilermakers.

Syracuse’s game versus Purdue marks the final time the team will compete in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. On Monday, ESPN announced that the ACC will now compete against the SEC beginning next season, ending a 23-yea run of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

With that context in mind, let’s get back to Syracuse women’s basketball.

The Orange are coming off a 17-point victory against Bucknell at home heading into its matchup against the Boilermakers. At 5-1 on the season, Syracuse is seeking its first road victory of the season after falling short against Penn State two games ago.

As for Purdue (6-1), the Boilermakers are coming off a six-point win against Oklahoma State in the 2022 Cancun Challenge, and are looking to avoid its second-straight loss against the ACC after falling short 76-75 against Florida State earlier this season.

Here’s what to watch for between Syracuse and Purdue.

Question #1: Can the Orange stop the Boilermakers’ electric offense?

Entering Wednesday evening’s game, Purdue ranks second in field goal percentage, second in three-point percentage, and fifth in free-throw attempts in the Big Ten. The Boilermakers' scoring attack is two-fold: attacking the rim relentlessly and kicking out to shooters. For Purdue, Madison Layden, Lasha Petree, and Cassidy Hardin in particular are combining to shoot 41/108 from three (38%) on the season. That’s an absurd rate in both volume and efficiency from behind the line.

Efficient shot selection and cutting down on turnovers (Purdue is averaging just 13.6 turnovers per game) drive what’s statistically one of the most efficient offenses in the Big Ten.

Coach Felisha Legette-Jack will need to make a tactical decision: close off the rim and hope Purdue misses shots, or press up but give up more one-on-one looks at the basket. So far, Syracuse’s defense typically prioritizes the former over the latter. Given Purdue’s hot shooting, it’ll be interesting to see if Syracuse keeps up with that tactic against the Boilermakers.

Question #2: Can Dariauna Lewis control the glass?

So far, Lewis (11.4 PPG, 10.4 RPG, and 2.6 BPG) has been the Orange’s most versatile player on the team, showcasing what she can do on both ends of the court. Against Purdue, Syracuse will need her to step up, especially in giving the team second-chance opportunities in the paint and a defensive presence down low.

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse Orange Tip Off Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

To date, Purdue’s biggest weakness is on the glass. Just one player (Jeanae Terry) is averaging more than nine rebounds per game; everybody else on the roster is averaging 4.4 rebounds or fewer.

Lewis and the rest of Syracuse’s forward rotation have to look to attack the rim, draw extra help, and control the glass on both ends of the court. On offense, make up for having a lack of pue shot creators, while on defense ensuring Purdue can’t get any more looks than it needs.

Question #3: Can Syracuse cut down the turnovers?

Purdue is averaging over 19 points off of turnovers this season, while Syracuse is currently averaging the third-most turnovers in the ACC. Dyaisha Fair and Teisha Hyman will need to play smart and efficiently. Especially against a team like Purdue, every possession counts.

Speaking of the Fair-Hyman scoring duo, that’s one of the lone bright spots for the Orange in its matchup against the Boilermakers. Expect each of Fair and Hyman to continue trending upward.