After returning to form Thursday night against the Pittsburgh Panthers, the Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team (11-4, 2-2) looks to get payback against the Clemson Tigers (11-5, 2-2) in a battle of the orange on the road.
Tip-off is set for Sunday at 2 pm EST, with the game available for streaming on ESPN’s ACC Network Extra.
For context, the last time ‘Cuse faced Clemson was in last season’s ACC Tournament, which saw the Orange fall 88-69 to cap off what was a brutal year for the team. But this season, the Orange are back and better as it looks to secure back-to-back wins against the ACC. On the other side, the Tigers look to bounce back after losing by 31 points to Florida State on the road.
Here’s what to watch for in the contest between Syracuse and Clemson:
Question #1: Can Syracuse take care of the ball?
The Tigers rank third in the ACC in both steals per game (10.4, right behind second-place Syracuse) and turnovers forced per game. This is a team that doesn’t generate the most efficient offense compared to the Orange, but Clemson will take advantage of sloppy play and careless mistakes by ‘Cuse. Dyaisha Fair, Teisha Hyman, and Georgia Woolley will all need to play smart and not force passes into traffic.
Question #2: Who wins the battle on the boards?
Syracuse and Clemson share a similar kryptonite in that both programs are prone to giving opponents extra opportunities around the basket. The Orange are giving up the second-most rebounds to opponents per game, while the Tigers rank nearby at fifth in the ACC. For Syracuse, Dariauna Lewis and Kyra Wood are both going to need to play with energy and prevent the Tigers from getting second chances around the basket.
Question #3: Can the Orange prove its worth in a primetime matchup?
Besides looking to avenge last season’s bitter defeat, this is a golden opportunity for Syracuse to get a notable win on the road against a pretty decent opponent. Both the Orange (63rd in NCAA NET ranking) and Clemson (62nd in NCAA NET ranking) rank near each other based on their performances so far this season. But don’t neglect the Tigers, who already have both a top-25 NET and a top-50 NET win plus three additional games under its belt against top-25 NET programs.
The end of the month gets difficult for Syracuse with matchups against elite ACC programs like Notre Dame, Duke, and Virginia. This could be a great chance for the Orange to rebuild momentum before facing a difficult slate in the near future.
Syracuse versus Clemson preview by the numbers
All-time: Syracuse is 10-2 all-time versus Clemson dating back to 2010, but the Orange have lost two of the past three contests versus the Tigers. Syracuse is 3-1 versus Clemson on the road.
Last matchup: Last season, Syracuse fell 88-69 versus Clemson in the 2022 ACC Tournament.
Win/loss implications: A win moves Syracuse back to above .500 against the ACC and gives the Orange its second NET top-100 victory of the season. A loss drops Syracuse to 2-3 in conference play and 1-4 in away games.
Prediction: Clemson is the more proven team given its tougher schedule so far, and both programs play similarly on both ends of the court. It’ll be a contest that goes down to the wire, but if Syracuse can stay hot from the field and cut down on the turnovers, it should be able to get the job done. I’ll predict Syracuse edges out Clemson 73-68 on the road.
Syracuse vs. Clemson Team Stats
|Margin of Victory||plus-12.4||plus-9.7|