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Syracuse women’s basketball: Orange hold off Boston College’s comeback efforts in 83-73 win

Syracuse’s potent offense powers the Orange to its second-straight ACC road win.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Stony Brook at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team secured its second-straight ACC road victory in commanding fashion with an 83-73 win against the Boston College Eagles Thursday evening.

Both teams combined for three ties and seven lead changes in the opening quarter, but Syracuse held the lead for almost 36 minutes of game time against BC.

The Orange needed to stand strong against multiple late-half Eagles’ scoring runs that cut into Syracuse’s lead several times. Ultimately, a 13-1 scoring run in the third quarter by Syracuse and some excellent perimeter defense powered the Orange (13-4, 4-2) enough to win over the Eagles (13-6, 3-3), its second-straight double-digit victory against a conference opponent.

In general, it was a sloppy game throughout as both programs combined for 44 total turnovers while giving up several scoring runs to the opposition. Nine players scored double-figures in this game, including five for the Orange.

Syracuse’s defense stepped up in the second half, especially with the Orange holding the Eagles to 41% from the field and just 6/25 from three in the game. And offensively, Syracuse took advantage of hot shooting from behind the arc (8/16) and a 28-8 scoring advantage from its bench to leave town with a double-digit victory.

With Dyaisha Fair and Teisha Hyman in foul trouble to end the first half, Alaina Rice stepped up off the bench to finish with a season-high 17 points on 66% shooting, along with 5 steals. Fair caught fire in the second half with 25 points and 6 assists on 50% shooting, her third-straight 20-plus point game and ninth of the season.

The Orange also took advantage of the Eagles’ sloppy ball-handling, leading to fastbreak opportunities like this one:

Syracuse led by as much as 15 points against BC in the second half, but an 11-2 scoring run by the Eagles cut the Orange’s lead down to three points. However, the Orange scored back-to-back buckets with under a second left in the shot clock and stopped BC enough to pull off the win.

The Fair-Rice backcourt combined for 42 points and eight steals in an all-around effort by the guard pair. Down low, Dariauna Lewis and Asia Strong combined for 22 points, 14 rebounds, and 4 steals/blocks, playing superbly down the stretch defensively.

Syracuse vs. Boston College by the numbers:

  1. The Orange led for over 35 minutes, or nearly 90%, of game time.
  2. Rice’s 17 points tied her career-high.
  3. Both teams combined for 44 turnovers, including 26 in the first half.
  4. Lewis submitted her second-straight double-double and her seventh of the season.
  5. Syracuse has now won eight of its last 10 games.

Biggest Takeaways of the Game:

Rice saves the day: It was an ugly predicament for the Orange with Fair in early foul trouble plus both Georgia Woolley (8 points on 2/13 shooting) and Teisha Hyman (three first-half fouls; 11 points and eight turnovers) struggling.

Yet, it was Rice’s 14 first-half points that kept the Orange afloat going into halftime and leading the charge next to Fair to begin the third quarter. After the game, coach Felisha Legette-Jack had nothing but praise for the senior stepping up her performance:

“I thought Alaina [Rice] really let that resonate,” said Legette-Jack. “She came out with such laser sharp focus and we just fed off of her today.”

When the game was on the line, Rice came through in a big way.

The offense keeps on keeping on: We’ve seen the Orange’s offense look increasingly efficient in recent games, even with the concerns over the lack of playmaking and the turnover-producing tendencies of this year’s roster. And yet, Syracuse proves to be a legit offensive force where multiple players can step up whether as a scorer or as a distributor. An added bonus is also awarded to the Orange for looking solid offensively on the road, especially against Clemson and now Boston College.

Mission accomplished: As I eluded to in the preview for this game, this win is a pretty big one for the Orange. Syracuse faces a difficult slate moving forward and a win here gives the Orange its third-straight victory heading into its next matchup.

Next game on the agenda:

Coming up for Syracuse is its toughest opponent yet, as the team will take on the #5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (13-2, 4-1) Sunday afternoon in the JMA Wireless Dome. The Orange hopes to play the underdog role on Doggy Day in the Dome.