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Syracuse women’s basketball: three takeaways from the 79-73 win versus Alabama

A Tidal Wave of Success

NCAA Womens Basketball: ACC/SEC Challenge-Alabama at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

In the first home game in almost a month, the Syracuse Orange put on a show, defeating the Alabama ​Crimson Tide with a final score of 79-73. This victory extends their win streak to three games and improves their overall record to 6-1 for the season.

The matchup between Alabama and Syracuse marked the first-ever meeting between the two women’s basketball teams. Furthermore, it was the first time that Syracuse Head Coach Felisha Legette-Jack and Alabama Head Coach Kirsty Curry went head-to-head. Both teams are receiving votes in this week’s USA Today/WBCA Coaches Top-25 Poll.

Syracuse and Alabama faced difficulties throughout the game, with Syracuse struggling with turnovers and Alabama’s struggle stemming from their inability to shoot from two-point range. Syracuse faced a challenging first quarter against Alabama, with both teams struggling to score. However, Syracuse adjusted their strategy in the second quarter, opting for a zone defense that proved effective against Alabama’s offense. The team dominated the boards, out-rebounding Alabama. The Orange also showcased their inside presence, with 40 of their 79 points coming from points in the paint. Alabama is known for its strong defense, which posed a tough challenge for Syracuse. However, Syracuse’s ability to adjust their game plan and play efficiently proved crucial in securing the win. The team played all zone defense during the second quarter, limiting Alabama’s scoring opportunities and maintaining control of the game. Legette-Jack said the most important decision of the game was from Isabel Varajão. She was a team player and unselfishly took herself out of the game and opted to go to the bench recognizing the effectiveness of the zone defense and her limitations. The three players who stole the spotlight were Alyssa Latham, Dyaisha Fair, and Kyra Wood.

Alyssa’s Arrival

Syracuse’s victory over Alabama was not just a win; it was a display of Latham’s exceptional skills and the emergence of a rising star. From the very first possession, she set the tone by scoring the first bucket for Syracuse. Latham had a career-high of 23 points, utilizing her size and athleticism. She dominated the glass, grabbing 12 rebounds, which marked her third double-double of the season. Latham sank her first collegiate three-pointer on three attempts this season. She delivered a performance that went beyond the box score, putting on a show for her family in the stands. As Latham continues to leave her mark on the court, she will undoubtedly be a player to watch.

Better than Fair from Deep

In a game where every point mattered, Fair had 20 points and 7 rebounds. Despite Fair’s relatively smaller stature at just 5’5”, she proved to be a force to be reckoned with on the glass. In her second season with Syracuse, she showcased her improved rebounding skills, averaging 5.5 rebounds per game. She connected on four of her five attempts, contributing significantly to Syracuse’s offensive firepower. Fair’s long-range accuracy adds a crucial dimension to her scoring repertoire, making her a threat from anywhere on the court. While her scoring and rebounding abilities are undoubtedly impressive, Fair’s playmaking prowess was on full display against Alabama. Dishing out a season-best seven assists, she constantly creates scoring opportunities for her teammates.

Wood Holds the Interior

Kyra Wood notched her second double-double, scoring 10 points and grabbing 13 rebounds against Alabama. Whether it's securing rebounds, scoring in the post, or providing a defensive presence, Wood has proven to be a dependable force for the Orange.

With a solid record, impressive individual performances, and the guidance of Coach Legette-Jack, Syracuse has a clear path to be ranked in the near future. Legette-Jack’s willingness to adjust the lineup rotation based on who has the hot hand has been a key factor in the Orange’s success.

Syracuse fans can mark their calendars for the next game on Monday, December 4th, when the Orange return home to face Northeastern. This upcoming game is another opportunity for Syracuse to showcase their skills and continue their journey toward a potential national ranking.