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

Coach Felisha Legette-Jack and company look to make it three-straight wins.

Syndication: Journal-Courier Alex Martin/Journal and Courier / USA TODAY NETWORK

Has the Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team finally found its groove? Coming off back-to-back double-digit victories against Pittsburgh and Clemson, Syracuse (12-4, 3-2) looks to be riding high heading into its Thursday night matchup against the Boston College Eagles (13-5, 3-2).

The Orange look to secure its third-straight win against the ACC heading into a difficult portion of the schedule that will see the team face the conference’s best of the best. On the other side, Boston College is also looking for its third-straight conference win. Last season, the Eagles finished 21-12 overall and 10-8 against the ACC, advancing to the third round of the 2022 WNIT.

Tip-off is set for tonight at 7 pm EST, with the game available for streaming on ESPN’s ACC Network Extra.

Here’s what to watch for and everything you need to know heading into the contest between the Orange and the Eagles.

Question #1: Will Dariauna Lewis and the forwards hold up in the paint?

Offensively, the Eagles don’t have as high of an offensive ceiling compared to the rest of the ACC (notably ranking second-worst in three-point and free-throw percentage). However, the Eagles thrive on the glass, with Boston College holding opponents to the third-lowest total rebounds per game in the conference so far this season.

After standout performances by both Dariauna Lewis and Asia Strong against Clemson, the Orange will need both of those forwards to step up against a physically imposing Eagles interior presence.

Question #2: Where can the Orange attack the Eagles defensively?

Thursday’s matchup is a classic case of how Syracuse’s high-scoring offense will hold up against an Eagles team that only allows 63 points per game to its opponents. While Boston College is giving up a high opponent three-point percentage (34%) compared to the rest of the ACC, that’s more of a case of shooting misfortune than a true weakness.

We’ve recently seen the emergence of the Dyaisha Fair, Teisha Hyman, and Georgia Woolley producing collectively in a three-guard scoring attack. This is a matchup where the Orange can’t give BC extra possessions, especially because of how limited the Eagles’ offensive production is in the half-court.

Question #3: Can Syracuse secure a solid win before bracing for the difficult road ahead?

Zooming out away from this game briefly, there’s a decent amount at stake for Syracuse.

The Orange’s upcoming schedule gets astronomically tougher after its matchup against Boston College. Starting on Sunday, Syracuse will need to compete in five of its next six games against #7 Notre Dame, #16 Duke, Virginia (projected NCAA Tournament program), Louisville (ditto like Virginia), and #13 Virginia Tech.

While the Orange do get a pretty easy game against Georgia Tech (0-5 in ACC play) in between the Notre Dame and Duke matchups, Syracuse is facing a conference gauntlet ahead. Taking care of business on the road against BC would be a great way for ‘Cuse to build momentum heading into its toughest stretch of the season.

Syracuse versus Boston College preview by the numbers

All-time: The Orange are 35-26 all-time versus the Eagles dating back to the 1982-1983 season. Syracuse beat BC three times in three chances in 2020-2021 but lost both games to the Eagles in 2021-2022 by an average of 20 points per contest.

Last matchup: Syracuse lost 91-75 at home, and is 13-15 all-time on the road against BC.

Win/loss implications: A win would give the Orange its third-straight victory and its third win against a NET top-100 program (the Eagles are currently ranked 72nd) of the season. A loss would drop Syracuse to 2-4 on the road and halt momentum heading into a difficult matchup Sunday against #7 Notre Dame.

Prediction: This game will be a tug-of-war between Boston College’s half-court defense and Syracuse’s fast-paced, electric offense. Given that we just saw the Orange torch a really great Clemson defense, I’ll (barely) predict Syracuse can survive 79-73 on the road.

Syracuse vs. Boston College Team Stats

Statistical Categories Syracuse Boston College
Statistical Categories Syracuse Boston College
PPG 77.6 69.9
Opponent PPG 65.1 63
Margin of Victory plus-12.5 plus-6.9
FG% 43% 42%
Defensive FG% 39% 40%
3FG% 29% 28%
Defensive 3FG% 26% 34%
FT% 72% 66%
RPG 44.3 40.3
APG 13.8 14.8
T/O 15.4 19.4
A/T ratio 0.9 0.8
SPG 10.8 9.9
BPG 4.3 4