Syracuse Orange women’s basketball missed out on a chance to get an ACC road win with a 71-65 loss to the Miami Hurricanes on Thursday night in Coral Gables in a game where Syracuse had a player get ejected.
Tempers spilled over near the end of the third when Naje Murray trying to get out of a loose ball scrum, stepped over a Miami player that was on the ground. Former Orange post player Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi played peacemaker, separating Murray from a few Hurricanes players. It was no “Malice at the Palace,” but Murray received two technicals and got tossed from the game.
Two different Miami players got hit with technicals, but the incident was simply not enough to warrant an ejection. Without Murray, Syracuse faced an even bigger hill to climb, trailing 55-42 after the third.
Murray shared team-high honors with Teisha Hyman, finishing with 15 points on 5-for-14 shooting. Her ejection almost spurred a double-digit comeback in a game the Orange never led.
Five straight points from Teisha Hyman brought Syracuse back to a 57-51 deficit with just under seven minutes left. Chrislyn Carr made it 59-55 with a jumper and Christianna Carr got it to 59-58 with a three-point play with 4:18 left.
Maybe it was tired legs or just poor execution, but the Orange couldn’t get past the final obstacle. Kelsey Marshall and Djaldi-Tabdi each scored inside to make it 63-58, and Marshall nailed an open three to make it 66-58 with 1:49 left.
Rice gave Syracuse its first bench points and a glimmer of hope, capping a brief 7-0 run to make it 68-65 with 29 seconds left. It was not to be. Miami made 3-of-4 foul shots down the stretch, and the Orange could not find another basket.
The Orange struggled mightily from the field, shooting just 20-of-67 (30 percent) from the floor and 9-for-32 from three. They played a clean game with only 10 turnovers but lost the rebounding margin 53-36.
Miami’s bench outscored Syracuse’s bench, a.k.a. Alaina Rice 30-3. These deficiencies: a lack of depth and failure to hit the boards have been a killer for the Orange in ACC play. It’s almost impossible to win a game when these gaps are so large.
Christianna Carr added 14 for Syracuse, and Chrislyn Carr had 11 but only shot 2-of-13 from the field. Alaysia Styles was the only starter that failed to reach double-figures, finishing with seven.
Miami used a deeper rotation (11 players) to wear down the Orange. Djaldi-Tabdi got back at her former team with 14 points off the bench. She shared team-high honors with Lola Pendande. Marshall added 10 for the home team. Moulayna Sidi Baba failed to score but had 16 rebounds.
The Hurricanes hopped out to a lead right out of the gate, but the Orange stayed in touch, coming within 32-31 with 3:10 left in the first half. Syracuse went cold over the final three minutes, and Miami took a 37-31 advantage to the break.
The Hurricanes hit the Orange with six quick points out of the locker room to take a 43-31 lead 75 seconds into the new half of play. Syracuse trailed 53-39 with 1:12 left in the third quarter when the scrum involving Murray took place.
For Syracuse, the focus over the closing stretch will be to finish over .500 and will need to take care of business down the stretch. It won’t get any easier the next time as the Orange host no. 4 Louisville on Sunday at noon.