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Syracuse women’s basketball: what to watch for vs. Central Connecticut

It’s a Friday Night Lights special for the Orange.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Notre Dame at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team (1-0) is off to the races in the 2023-2024 season and is hoping to get a mini win streak going Friday night against the Blue Devils.

And no, not those Blue Devils... yet. Syracuse returns to the JMA Wireless Dome for a matchup against the Central Connecticut Blue Devils. The Orange are coming off a dominant 75-41 season-opening win over the Lafayette Panthers.

Central Connecticut didn’t fare all too well last season, going 7-22 overall and 3-13 against the Northeast Conference. Similar to Tuesday’s game, the Orange should be the heavy favorites in this one as well.

Tip-off is at 7 p.m. in the Dome. The game will also be available for stream on ESPN’s ACC Network+.

Can Felisha Legette-Jack and the Orange move to 2-0 on the year? Here’s what to watch for between Syracuse and Central Connecticut:

More reps for the reserves

Similar to the Lafayette game, this should be a clear Orange victory unless doom’s day is now upon us. With that, this gives Legette-Jack another game to give some of the end-of-bench talent more playing time and greater responsibility.

Some of the names to watch for include Lexi McNabb (who played 27 minutes on Tuesday), Kennedi Perkins and Marilena Triantafylli.

Keep in mind that some of Syracuse’s key players — Georgia Woolley, Dominique Camp and Saniaa Wilson — are all recovering due to various injury. For Legette-Jack, it will still be next player up until the Orange are back to full health.

Newcomer consistency

Speaking of next player up, newcomers Alyssa Latham and Sophie Burrows have each proven (at least so far) to be ready-now players who can contribute immediately.

Latham is coming off a double-double in her first collegiate game, the first time a Syracuse player has done so since the 2017-2018 season. She’s a multi-level scorer who also remains active on the glass and athletic enough to be at least adequate enough defensively.

As for Burrows, she gives the Orange some perimeter juice the team really was sorely needing. If she can improve enough defensively, her offensive value can make up for it on most nights.

Margin of victory

What Syracuse’s postseason resume will look like by the spring will no doubt change over the course of the season. In games like these, especially where Syracuse is a big-time favorite, the goal is to not only get the job done, but do so in stellar fashion. Again, this is the type of game where the expectation for Syracuse is, at worst, a 15-point win. The greater the margin of victory, the more confident we can feel about how this team will perform the rest of the way.

Syracuse versus Central Connecticut preview by the numbers

All-time: Syracuse is 4-0 all-time against the Blue Devils.

Last matchup: The Orange made history in their last contest versus Central Connecticut in a dominant 116-75 home win. Not only did former Syracuse guard Teisha Hyman secure the program’s fifth triple-double ever, but the team scored the most points in program history to date.

Win/loss implications: A win puts the Orange one step closer to their current expectations, while a loss dampers the outlook for this season and then some.

Prediction: Syracuse comfortably handles business at home in an 73-42.

Syracuse vs. Central Connecticut Team Stats

Statistical Categories Syracuse Central Connecticut
Statistical Categories Syracuse Central Connecticut
PPG 75 35
Opponent PPG 41 52
Margin of Victory plus-34 minus-17
FG% 40% 21%
Defensive FG% 30% 33%
3FG% 28% 6%
Defensive 3FG% 16% 17%
FT% 72% 67%
RPG 58.8 39
APG 11 8
T/O 14 15
A/T ratio 0.8 0.5
SPG 6 8
BPG 2 2