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Syracuse women’s basketball: the Orange collapse late and fall at #24 Florida State

The Orange showed flashes, but couldn’t execute late in the 4th quarter.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Syracuse at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

One could say the Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team (16-11, 7-9) ended its three-game stretch against ranked opponents as expected with each of a home win, a single-digit road loss, and a double-digit road loss. Last night’s 78-65 road loss had to sting the most out of the trio of games for the Orange.

After trailing for most of its matchup against the #24 Florida State Seminoles, a big-time three from Dyaisha Fair cut the Orange’s deficit down to 67-65 with four and a half minutes left to go, providing a golden opportunity for Syracuse to leave Tallahassee with its second resume-boosting win in its last three games.

Unfortunately, that was as close as the Orange could get on the road against the Seminoles. Syracuse was held scoreless the rest of the way as its offensive simply collapsed, finishing that stretch shooting 2/13 from the field, including misses on its last eight field goal attempts. The Seminoles took advantage, ending the game on an 11-0 run to give the Orange its second-straight road loss and put a stop to its late-season search for an NCAA Tournament bid.

Even with a late-game meltdown, the Orange’s offense struggled to produce across the board as the team shot 34% from the field overall and just 3/16 from three with Fair serving as the only reliable contributor from start to finish. Meanwhile, Florida State’s offense played as advertised, catching fire throughout the first quarter before picking up steam late in the second half after brief shooting struggles by the Seminoles in the second and third quarters.

Fair played all 40 minutes of the game given how desperate the Orange were to generate any sort of good offense, finishing with 19 points on 7/19 shooting, including all of Syracuse’s three successful makes from behind the line. Alaina Rice also quietly had one of the best performances of her career despite shooting 4/13 from the field, finishing with 9 points, 17 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 blocks while providing reliable hustle and energy in her 36 minutes. Dariauna Lewis also finished with her third-consecutive double-double (10 points and 10 rebounds on 5/9 shooting).

On the other hand, the rest of the team showed promise but couldn’t produce consistently. Georgia Woolley finished with 12 points but on an abysmal 5/17 shooting from the field and 0/4 from three, while Teisha Hyman (23 minutes, 4 points, 1/8 shooting, five assists, and five turnovers) flashed here and there but struggled with turnovers and forced shots.

Syracuse did boast a 21-15 offensive rebound advantage courtesy of Lewis and company, but at the end of the day, the Orange missed tons of good looks including a 9/27 performance on layups and post shots. Couple that with 15 fastbreak points for the Seminoles, and the scoring deficit was simply too much for ‘Cuse to overcome.

The Orange trailed early, with coach Felisha Legette-Jack calling a timeout less than three minutes into the game after going down 8-2 early. A 7-0 run saw the Orange up by one point (11-10), but that would be Syracuse’s only lead for the rest of the contest as the team trailed for over 39 of the game’s 40 minutes.

Syracuse trailed as much as 10 points (31-21) in the second quarter as Syracuse’s offense stalled, but the team fought back to cut the deficit to four points towards the end of the first half and then by two in the fourth quarter before its eventual defeat.

As the saying goes: it’s on to the next one.

Next game on the agenda:

The Orange return to the Dome Sunday afternoon for its final home game of the season and arguably the most season-defining for its postseason hopes against the Miami Hurricanes (17-9, 10-5). Miami currently projects as a nine-seed in the 2023 NCAA Tournament, slotting in as the eight and (as of now) final team in the ACC projected to make the tournament.