The Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team (3-0) secured its third-straight win to kick off the 2023-2024 season on Wednesday night after defeating the Coppin State Eagles (1-3) 80-47.
Syracuse took a commanding lead right from the start and never looked back, going up as much as 13 points in the first quarter before a 20-8 run by the Orange put this game away by the end of the first half. The win means that coach Felisha Legette-Jack and the Orange have defeated their first three opponents this season by more than 30 points in each game.
In last season’s win over Coppin State, superstar Dyaisha Fair’s 27 points proved to be a deciding factor in the contest. Fast forward a year later, and despite not starting in this year’s game nor stepping on the court until the second quarter, Fair ended with a team-high 16 points on 5/11 shooting from the field and 4/8 shooting from three.
Fair was one of several veterans who stepped up for the Orange. Alaina Rice (15 points and 7 rebounds) and Izabel Varejão (13 points) each finished in double-figures, while Sophie Burrows and Saniaa Wilson ended up with 17 points combined.
Syracuse began the game on a 15-2 run, but Coppin State surged back late in the first quarter to cut the Orange’s lead to 17-10. Burrows and Varejão combined for 13 of Syracuse’s first 15 points in the game.
From there, Syracuse’s offense took command and gave the Orange a double-digit lead that the Eagles never really had a chance to dig out of. For the entire second half, Syracuse’s lead remained at 18 points or higher.
The offense came easy for the Orange, once again converting turnovers by the Eagles into easy opportunities in transition. Syracuse forced 21 turnovers in the game, powering the team to a 33-15 advantage in points off turnovers. The Orange also shot the ball extremely well from the outside, connecting on 10 of the team’s 28 total three point attempts. Fair, Rice, Burrows and Kennedi Perkins each finished with at least two three-point makes.
On defense, Syracuse forced Coppin State to shoot under 30% (17/57) from the field. In fact, it was a historic night defensively for the Orange — the 47 points scored by Coppin State was the least a Syracuse opponent has scored in the Legette-Jack era.
Faith Blackstone — who once played for Syracuse during the 2020-2021 season — ended with 19 points, 8 rebounds and 7 turnovers for Coppin State. Only five players scored for the Eagles, something that reflects in the Orange’s 33-8 advantage in bench points.
The win was great, but the process leading up to the win was even better. Compared to last season, Syracuse’s roster has proven so far to be more well-rounded and deeper. From a chemistry standpoint, however, reactions like these have to make you feel good about the state of things right now:
Of course, the outlook ahead will be much different for the Orange. Legette-Jack and the rest of the team will travel to College Park for a) Syracuse’s first road game of the season and b) the Orange’s first game against a ranked opponent — the #20 Maryland Terrapins (1-1).
The win over Coppin State means Syracuse moves to 18-3 all-time in home games since Legette-Jack took over as coach. The Orange, however, will need to keep its intensity up as the team heads out of town for their next three games — all of which will be essential for Syracuse to start building its resume for this year’s NCAA Tournament.
But for now, Syracuse can enjoy savoring this victory.