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Syracuse women’s basketball: toughest games, marquee matchups, and more on the 2022-2023 schedule

It’s time to answer the biggest questions about the Orange’s schedule for this season.

NCAA Womens Basketball: ACC Tournament-Clemson at Syracuse William Howard-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve already broken down the men’s basketball slate. Now it’s time to do the same exercise for the Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team.

The schedule for WBB was released just over a week ago. The Orange will play in 18 games against ACC opponents and face off in 29 total games for the 2022-2023 season. Here are the key matchups, marquee games, and everything you need to know about who the women’s team will face this year.

What are your general thoughts on the 2022-2023 schedule?

Similar to the men’s team, the women’s team will face several non-conference opponents before taking on the ACC for the final two-thirds of the season. With so many new faces and tons of questions to hash out, the Orange will need to make every win count, especially before reaching conference play.

Last season, Syracuse did beat 14th-ranked Ohio State in their eighth game last year, but also suffered underwhelming losses to unranked opponents like South Florida, Minnesota, and Buffalo.

With the Orange stumbling out of the gate last season, the team outright disappointed enough against the ACC. After beating Clemson by 40 points on December 11, Syracuse didn’t win another game against a conference opponent until January 30, when the Orange destroyed a Pittsburgh team that finished 11-19 on the year and a dismal 2-16 in ACC games. During this stretch, SU beat UMBC but went 0-6 against the ACC.

Overall, Syracuse went 4-14 in games against ACC teams in 2021-2022, which was tied for the fourth-worst record in the conference.

The ultimate litmus test for SU will be in ACC games on the road. The Orange were 9-7 in games at the JMA Wireless Dome but 2-7 in away matchups in 2022. Last season, ‘Cuse looked like two different teams: super competitive at home and anything but competent on the road. The only teams Syracuse beat on the road were Pittsburgh and Virginia, the two worst teams in the ACC last season. Against the rest of the conference, Syracuse was 0-7 and lost by an average total of 22 points per game.

This season, the Orange will be playing on the road for 9 ACC games, including matchups against Notre Dame, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Duke, and Georgia Tech, all of which finished above .500 last season.

Coach Legette-Jack will need to rally her team early if the Orange are looking to have a bounce-back season.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Syracuse at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

What’s the marquee game of the year for the Orange?

There are tons of options to choose from this year. For simplicity’s sake, let’s pick one game with an ACC matchup and another with a non-conference opponent.

Starting off with non-conference play, it’s a toss-up between two away games: one against Purdue in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, and another against Yale (the next game on the Orange’s slate after Purdue).

It’s tempting to pick Yale given that the team was third-best in the Ivy League behind Princeton and Columbia. Yale is also equally as competitive as this iteration of the Orange.

I’m going with Purdue by a hair. The Boilermakers finished 17-15 last season and 7-11 against a hyper-competitive Big Ten. Purdue finished 9th in the Big Ten and lost by just 4 points in the 2022 Big Ten Tournament. It’ll be an early-season test for both teams, but especially for Syracuse.

Last year’s victory against #14 Ohio State was fool’s gold for Syracuse. After that win, the Orange won four games in a row and had all the momentum in the world before ending the year with a dismal 3-14 record.

Against ACC opponents, the game I’ve got circled on my calendar is at home against UNC. Chapel Hill was the third-best team in the ACC, going 13-5 in conference play and 25-2 against non-ACC opponents. The Orange won’t take on the Tar Heels until towards the end of the season on February 9th.

How do you feel about the non-conference opponents?

The Orange should feel pretty happy about their non-conference schedule. Syracuse will play 11 non-conference opponents: Stony Brook, Colgate, Binghamton, LIU, Penn State, Bucknell, Purdue, Yale, Coppin State, Wagner, and Albany.

The biggest tests for the Orange will be against Penn State, Purdue, and Yale. All three of those games will be on the road for Syracuse. The Orange play Purdue and Yale in back-to-back games, with their matchup against Penn State taking place 9 days before the ACC/Big Ten Challenge against the Boilermakers.

Legette-Jack will need to balance experimentation with different lineups and guaranteeing that the Orange beat the teams they should be able to win against, similar to how Jim Boeheim will need to do the same for the men’s team,

What’s the most important stretch of the season?

The month of January will be underlined, highlighted, and printed on orange paper for Syracuse.

In January, the Orange will take on the following opponents: NC State, Pittsburgh, Clemson, Boston College, Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, Duke, Virginia, and Louisville. Now let’s look at how these teams performed in 2021-2022:

ACC Standings (2021-2022 season)

NC State: 17-1 conference record, 1st in the ACC

Pittsburgh: 2-16 conference record, 14th in the ACC

Clemson: 3-15 conference record, 13th in the ACC

Boston College: 10-8 conference record, 7th in the ACC

Notre Dame: 13-5 conference record, 4th in the ACC

Georgia Tech: 11-7 conference record, 6th in the ACC

Duke: 7-11 conference record, 10th in the ACC

Virginia: 2-16 conference record, 15th in the ACC

Louisville: 16-2 conference record, 2nd in the ACC

In January, the Orange will face teams across the competitive spectrum. The WBB team’s season will be made or broken based on how they perform this month.

Syracuse takes on the two best teams in the ACC from last season and three of the best four teams in the conference during this stretch of games. The Orange will also get a revenge opportunity against Clemson, who killed Syracuse in the 2022 ACC Tournament. There are some relatively-easy matchups against Pittsburgh and Virginia, but there are also some competitive games against Georgia Tech, Boston College, and Duke, who are all looking to take a leap this season.

If you had to make a way-too-early prediction, how competitive will the Orange be this year?

I feel pretty optimistic about the Orange given who they play. It’s still a bit early to make a season prediction, but I’d imagine Syracuse will get the job done to start the year and be in good standing once ACC competition kicks off.

I’ll be interested to see how the Orange will fare against teams from last season that finished around .500. In recent years, the Orange have been a solid team but took a step back last year for a handful of reasons. Syracuse will have its eyes set on returning back to prosperity.

Now it’s time to see if the team’s plan on paper can translate to wins on the court as they begin Felisha Legette-Jack’s era.