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Syracuse women’s basketball: the Orange cruise past Lafayette 75-41 in season-opener

Featuring an outstanding debut performance

NCAA Basketball: ACC Tipoff Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team (1-0) overcame a rough first quarter and surged back in commanding fashion Tuesday evening in a 75-41 home win against the Lafayette Leopards.

Despite beginning the game 1/11 from the field with a slim single-digit lead after 10 minutes of game time, Syracuse outscored Lafayette 46-16 in the second and third quarters to steal the contest for good. Similar to the Orange’s success last season under head coach Felisha Legette-Jack, Syracuse used its advantages in fast-break points (14-0), points off turnovers (21-9) and points in the paint (42-18) to give the team a well-deserved season-opening win.

As expected, superstar guard Dyaisha Fair led the way with one of her best all-around performances with the Orange: a game-high 17 points on 6/14 shooting (3/6 from three), 11 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals. Four other players also scored in double-figures for the Orange, with Alyssa Latham’s strong debut performance (15 points and 10 rebounds) a highlight.

Latham became the Orange’s first freshman to finish with a double-double in a collegiate debut since forward Digna Strautmane in 2018.

Returners Kyra Wood (12 points and 7 rebounds) and Alaina Rice (10 points and 11 rebounds) as well as freshman Sophie Burrows (10 points, 2/7 from three) also helped Syracuse to the win.

The trio of Fair, Latham and Rice became the first three Syracuse players to notch double-doubles in the same game since Tiana Mangakahia, Emily Engstler and Kamilla Cardoso did so in 2020-2021.

Fair, Burrows, Rice, Latham and Izabel Varejão were Syracuse’s opening-day starters. The Orange were notably without three key rotation players who are all continuing to nurse injuries. Starter Georgia Woolley, transfer guard Dominique Camp and forward Saniaa Wilson were all absent in the game, meaning Legette-Jack went deep into her bench to fill out the rest of her rotation.

Although Syracuse did shoot under 40% from the field (including a ghastly 6/25 from three), the Orange’s defense held the Leopards to 30% shooting overall in a strong (and promising) defensive performance. Syracuse also held Lafayette to just seven free throw attempts, another area where the Orange took advantage of.

Yes, Syracuse’s offense certainly did wax and wane over the course of the game. However, the Orange looked like the more aggressive team from start to finish. Most notably on offense, Syracuse out-rebounded Lafayette by 19 on the offensive glass.

Lafayette never lead by more than four points (9-5 in the first quarter); a quick 8-0 following a media timeout gave the Orange a double-digit lead which ballooned to as much as 40 points (75-35) towards the end of the fourth quarter.

For the second year in a row, Legette-Jack and the Orange begin the regular season at 1-0 and in commanding fashion.

Up next for Syracuse is a matchup this Friday night against the Central Connecticut Blue Devils.