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Syracuse women’s basketball: the Orange trounce Saint Francis 85-43, finish 10-1 in non-con slate

Syracuse concludes non-conference play with a bang.

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

The Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team (10-1) put on a show to remember for a Thursday morning crowd of more than 8,000 students from local high schools, defeating the Saint Francis Red Flash (1-11) 85-43 to conclude non-conference play for the 2023-2024 season.

The Orange began the game with their best start all year and jumped out to a 23-0 lead in the first quarter alone, all but ceiling the deal on any comeback effort from Saint Francis. Syracuse dominated on both ends of the floor in the annual "School Day" game and outscored the Red Flash by 30 in the first half, cruising to what turned into the Orange’s second-largest margin of victory in a win this season and sixth by 20 points or more.

It was an accolade-filled day across the board for the Orange. Five different players scored in double-figures for the Orange, led by the backcourt of Dyaisha Fair and Georgia Woolley who each ended with personal career milestones.

Fair finished with 16 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals off the bench, and notably moved up to 20th on the NCAA Division I women’s basketball career scoring list. Woolley ended the game with a team-high 19 points, meaning she has now reached over 1,000 points in her collegiate career.

Alyssa Latham (12 points, 10 rebounds), Alaina Rice (12 points, 10 rebounds) and Kyra Wood (11 points, 15 rebounds) all ended with double-doubles in the 42-point win.

Syracuse stormed out of the gate and didn’t let up for pretty much most of the first quarter, especially on the defensive end. The Orange held Saint Francis scoreless for the first eight minutes of the game, holding the Red Flash to an 0/13 start from the field. Saint Francis called two timeouts in the first quarter after Syracuse jumped to as much as a 23-0 lead.

The intensity for the Orange early was no joke — Felisha Legette-Jack had the team running full-court press early and got most of the roster involved as nine different Syracuse players entered the game in the first quarter alone. Wood first got the Orange on the board with a pair of free throws while George Woolley scored Syracuse’s first basket on a running layup. Fair (8 points) and Rice (6 points) combined for 14 points early, and five different players scored at least one basket in the game’s first 10 minutes.

Syracuse entered the second quarter up 26-6 while holding Saint Francis to 3/18 shooting from the field up to that point. As seen below, this run build up a lead for Syracuse that was pretty much impossible for the Red Flash to overcome:

Likewise in the second quarter, the Orange’s defense held Saint Francis without a field goal until the 4:30 marker. While Syracuse itself started the quarter shooting only 3/12 from the field, the Orange’s lead extended to 25 points with just minutes to go left in the first half.

The Orange led by as much as 32 points in the first half and entered the third quarter up 45-15. Syracuse’s defense held Saint Francis to 17% shooting and forced 8 turnovers in the first half. The perimeter trio of Fair (11 points), Rice (10 points) and Woolley (10 points) all finished the first half with double-figures in points, and combined 31 of the Orange’s first 45 points.

Alyssa Latham also chipped in with 7 points and 5 rebounds in the half, while Destini Ward (5 points) and Kameryn Dorsey (4 points) were the only players to score more than one basket for Saint Francis.

The Red Flash started to show brief flashes on offense, but Syracuse’s offense continue to produce at its usual rate. Just like in the first half, Woolley kicked off the third quarter with a basket on the Orange’s first possession.

Saint Francis made a small dent and cut the Orange’s lead to 29 points (61-32) by the end of the third quarter, but there was almost no time left for the Red Flash to make any serious comeback. Syracuse kept its foot on the gas pedal and outscored Saint Francis 24-11 to put the game away for good.

Syracuse concludes its non-conference slate with 10 wins and extends the Orange’s home winning streak against non-conference opponents to 26 games (a streak which dates back to 2019). The Orange will enter ACC play with a seven-game win streak and began their conference slate on New Year’s Eve against #14 Notre Dame.