The Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team can finally breathe a sigh of relief after securing its first road victory of the season.
The program’s reward? A (hopefully) easy peasy home matchup against the Coppin State Eagles.
Syracuse (6-2) will take on Coppin State (2-7) Thursday evening at the JMA Wireless Dome. Tip-off is at 7 pm, with the game also being available for streaming on the ESPN+ ACC Network.
Syracuse is coming off a 60-58 road victory against the Yale Bulldogs. Coppin State enters its matchup versus the Orange on a four-game losing streak.
Can the Orange get the job done at home after a tough stretch on the road?
Here are some things to watch for heading into the matchup between Syracuse and Coppin State.
Question #1: Fair and Hyman, then who?
Dyaisha Fair and Teisha Hyman continue to impress as high-volume, go-to scorers for the Orange.
Outside of those two though, finding a third scorer remains a mystery. Dariauna Lewis and Asia Strong are quality pieces, but not reliable on-the-ball creators. Georgia Woolley and Alaina Rice are both shooting poorly out of the gate. No one on Syracuse’s bench is turning into a reliable scorer with a carve-out role in the rotation.
Against Coppin State, let’s see if a third player capable of generating efficient offense emerges.
Question #2: Does coach Legette-Jack expand her rotation?
Speaking of rotation, head coach Felisha Legette-Jack is keeping a tight ship to start the season.
Syracuse’s five starters (Fair, Hyman, Woolley, Lewis, and Strong) are all averaging north of 25 minutes per night, with Fair leading the way with over 34 minutes per game.
I’m intrigued by the Orange’s different bench options. Cheyenne McEvans is creeping up past 15 minutes a game as she slowly continues to solidify herself in the rotation. Saniaa Wilson flashes post-up scoring and rebounding in her sparse minutes. Ditto for Kyra Wood.
The bottom line: there are still some unknowns off of Syracuse’s bench. The Orange’s second unit lacks firepower, but it also lacks time on the court. If ‘Cuse gets out to a 20-point lead, maybe we see more time from the Orange’s more unproven players.
Question #3: Don’t underestimate the Eagles.
Yes, Coppin State ranks second-to-last in its own conference. And yes, the program heads into Syracuse sitting on a four-game losing streak. And double-yes, the Eagles are just 1-5 on the road.
However, don’t underestimate Coppin State’s ability to stay in games. Against another ACC program (Pittsburgh), the team fell by just 15 points. In its last four games, the Eagles have lost by an average of 6.5 points per contest against the following opponents: Rhode Island, Old Dominion, Campbell, and William and Mary.
Again, these opponents aren’t lighting the world on fire. But, Coppin State has proved it can hang around in some of these games.
Maybe Syracuse just flat-out topples the Eagles by 15-20 points. That’s the most likely outcome for Thursday night. Nonetheless, don’t count out Coppin State until the final buzzer sounds.