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Syracuse women’s basketball: the Orange’s upset bid loses steam in 78-64 loss to #13 Virginia Tech

Another upset bid opportunity dissolved late in the fourth for the Orange.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Notre Dame at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve been down this road before with the Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team (14-9, 5-7). Coming into its Thursday night road matchup against the #13 Virginia Tech Hokies (18-4, 8-4), the Orange competed strongly for three quarters but struggled to finish off games late in the fourth quarter against ranked opponents.

Against the Hokies, history repeated itself yet again as Syracuse trailed by just two points heading into the last 10 minutes of the game. Virginia Tech outscored ‘Cuse 26-14 in the fourth quarter, including a scoring run that saw the Hokies go up as much as 72-55.

The Orange battle hard in a game that saw six ties and nine different lead changes. Despite Teisha Hyman and Asia Strong being out with injuries, Syracuse relied on a seven-player rotation to stay afloat against one of the most talented teams in the ACC.

As with most Syracuse games, the Orange surged out to an early 17-7 lead in the first quarter, its largest lead of the whole game as the team held Virginia Tech to 5/17 shooting to open the contest. In particular, ‘Cuse fared much better with protecting the ball (just two turnovers in the first quarter).

From there, the Hokies slowly battled back. Virginia Tech shot 60% from the field in the second quarter, including a scorching 5/10 from three as the Orange were outscored by five points in the period. Syracuse’s offense still held strong, with both Dyaisha Fair and Georgia Woolley giving the Orange enough scoring punch to keep the game close.

Syracuse led 36-35 at halftime in a high-scoring contest that saw both programs shoot 44% from the field and at least 38% from three. Fair and Woolley combined for 23 of the Orange’s 36 first-half points, with Alaina Rice also chipping in 7 points after two quarters.

Unfortunately, Syracuse’s offense simply ran out of gas, easily the biggest concern for the Orange heading into a difficult road matchup against the Hokies. ‘Cuse shot just 4-15 from the field in the third quarter, relying mainly on 11 trips to the foul line to keep close with Virginia Tech. In particular, the Hokies did a much better job in the second half of shutting down the Orange’s perimeter scoring. Syracuse was just 2/11 from three in the second half after shooting 5/11 from downtown in the first half.

Any chance of an upset was completely derailed in the fourth quarter. A 10-0 run to begin the fourth quarter by the Hokies saw Syracuse fall into a deficit it simply couldn’t score its way out of. Overall, the Orange were outscored by 12 points, shooting a dismal 6/19 overall as a team in the last 10 minutes.

Despite a hard-fought battle, the Orange fell 78-64 on the road to the Hokies, dropping its second-straight game and fourth-straight loss against a ranked ACC opponent. Fair and Woolley combined for 38 points in the loss, while Rice chipped in 13 points on 50% shooting in the losing effort.

Given the context heading into the game, Syracuse competed from start to finish as usual. The Orange will still have a chance at redemption heading back to Syracuse this weekend.

Next game on the agenda:

Up next for Syracuse is the program’s second matchup of the season against the Boston College Eagles (14-11, 4-8), whom the Orange defeated 83-73 on the road earlier this season.


Now it’s your turn: can the Orange bounce back this weekend? What were your takeaways from the contest against #13 Virginia Tech?