In an improbable comeback, the Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team (9-1) caught fire late after trailing by as much as 14 points to defeat the Cornell Big Red (5-5) 78-71 at home, notching the program’s 25th consecutive home win versus a non-conference opponent in stunning fashion.
After trailing 50-36 with roughly five minutes to go in the third quarter, Syracuse outscored Cornell 42-21 the rest of the way and overcame a 29-point first half to extend its winning streak on Monday night to six games.
The starters notched heavy-minute totals, but ended up contributing 72 of the Orange’s 78 total points. The Orange ended with a 29-17 scoring advantage in the fourth quarter to complete the 21-point turnaround.
Dyaisha Fair finished with her best all-around performance of the season with a team-high 24 points despite only shooting 3/13 from the field — she notably went 16/18 from the foul line and rounded things out with 5 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals. Fair also moved up to 21st all-time on the NCAA Division I women’s basketball career scoring list on this transition steal and fastbreak layup:
Georgia Woolley played all 40 minutes and finished with a season-high 23 points on 8/18 shooting, while the trio of Alyssa Latham (9 points and 10 rebounds), Kyra Wood (8 points and 5 rebounds) and Alaina Rice (8 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists) all came through in the second half when it mattered most.
Cornell shot 46% from the field and was led by forward Emily Pape, who scored 27 points on 13/17 shooting. Summer Parker-Hall (18 points) and Azareya Kilgoe (10 points) also finished in double-figures for Cornell. Cornell attack the Orange on the inside and finished with a 40-28 advantage in points in the paint.
After Syracuse missed its first shot, Wood nailed a mid-range jumper to put the team on the board. From there, the Orange continued to make four of their next five shots — Wood scored again around the rim on an offensive rebound, while Woolley knocked down back-to-back threes as Syracuse led 14-8 after five minutes of action.
The Orange’s offense did start to cool after the first media timeout, and Cornell proceeded to take the lead. After starting off 4/6 from the field, Syracuse ended the quarter shooting 2/13 from the field. Woolley and Wood combined for 12 of Syracuse’s first 14 points, but a 7-0 run by Cornell to end the first quarter led to the Orange facing a 15-14 deficit. From here, Cornell led the rest of the way until the 2:39 marker in the fourth quarter.
Big Red outscored the Orange 22-15 in the second quarter and took as much as a nine-point lead, and Syracuse ultimately trailed 37-29 at the end of the first half. Syracuse shot just 10/30 from the field in the first half, including 4/12 in the second quarter.
Woolley, Fair and Wood were the only players with multiple first-half baskets for the Orange in the first half. The Fair-Woolley backcourt combined for 18 points, while Cornell shot 50% from the field despite only four players scoring in the entire half. Pape and Parker-Hall both powered Cornell’s strong start as Syracuse’s defense struggled to contain either one of them.
Syracuse was able to briefly shoot out of the gate strong after Woolley scored on a quick mid-range jumper and Latham finished a tough and-one layup, which helped to cut the deficit down to as low as five points (41-36).
From that point on, Pape continued to knock down some gut-wrenching shots as Cornell caught fire and went on a 9-0 run. The Orange trailed as much as 14 points with 15 minutes left to go — the team’s largest deficit all game.
Just when things looked completely over after trailing 50-36, Syracuse finished the quarter on a 13-4 run to cut the deficit down to 54-49. Both teams combined to shoot 7/22 in the first six minutes of the fourth quarter as the offenses stalled. Latham and Wood continued to crash the glass and give the Orange some second-chance looks, while Fair and Woolley pretty much did all the shot creating the rest of the way.
Crucially, momentum started to swing in favor of Syracuse toward the end. Syracuse trailed 63-59 when Woolley stole the ball off an inbound from Cornell. From there, Rice, Fair and Woolley all knocked down huge shots at the end to take the lead in the final three minutes for good.
Despite some struggles, the Orange did force Cornell into 18 turnovers and outscored the Big Red 19-4 in transition and at the foul line (23/31 for Syracuse, compared to just 8/10 for Cornell).
Syracuse moves to six-straight wins after the Cornell game, which is currently the third-longest win streak in the ACC behind #3 NC State and #14 Notre Dame. The Orange will look to close out non-conference play on Thursday morning against Saint Francis (PA).