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Syracuse women’s basketball: what to watch for vs. Boston College

Can ‘Cuse basketball make it 4-0 this year against the Eagles?

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

It’s officially the beginning of the end for the Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team’s (14-9, 5-7) 2022-2023 regular season campaign.

With just six games left to go in the season, the Orange are looking to rebuild momentum today against the Boston College Eagles (14-11, 4-8) before suiting up for a four-game gauntlet against #11 North Carolina, #9 Notre Dame, #23 Florida State, and Miami.

Syracuse enters its Sunday afternoon home matchup versus BC coming off back-to-back double-digit losses to Louisville and #13 Virginia Tech, while the Eagles are 1-5 since ‘Cuse defeated BC 83-73 on the road back on January 12.

Tip-off between the Orange and the Eagles is at 2 pm EST at the JMA Wireless Dome, with the game available for streaming on ESPN’s ACC Network+.

Both the men’s and women’s teams are a combined 3-0 against BC this season. Can the Orange secure a season sweep of the Eagles across both programs?

Here’s what to watch for between Syracuse and Boston College.

Question #1: Do the Orange possess the same scoring prowess?

In its matchup earlier this season, Syracuse relied on big-time offensive performances from almost all of its main rotation players. Dyaisha Fair (25 points) and Alaina Rice (17 points) all produced exceptionally on the road against BC, while three additional members of the Orange (Teisha Hyman, Dariauna Lewis, and Asia Strong) also finished in double-figures.

With that said, Syracuse enters this game with more uncertainty. Both Hyman and Strong could be unavailable depending on if they can each return from injury or not. Georgia Woolley has played better as of late, which is a good sign. Fair will get her 20 points regardless of efficiency. Outside of that, ‘Cuse is counting on out-of-character offensive production from its reserves.

Question #2: Who wins on the turnover front?

In terms of scoring defense, both these programs rank in the bottom-five in the ACC. Offensively, Syracuse (74.3 points per game, 4th in the conference) ranks far better than BC (68 points per game, 11th in the conference), but the Eagles can put up points in bunches by taking advantage of opponent turnovers (4th in the conference in steals per game) and cleaning up empty possessions (3rd in the conference in offensive rebounds per game).

The possession battle will be huge, especially because both teams thrive off getting easier looks in fastbreak and semi-transition opportunities. In fact, BC is dead-last in the ACC in turnovers per game by a pretty sizeable margin. The Eagles are averaging 20.1 turnovers per game, three more ahead of second-to-last Clemson in that category.

Question #3: Who catches fire from three for the Orange?

Boston College is arguably the worst perimeter team in the ACC, ranking last in three-point percentage (27.9%) while forking over the second-highest three-point percentage to opponents (34.1%) in the conference.

Syracuse shot 8/16 from three against BC in its previous matchup, with Hyman and Rice combining to shoot 5/6 from behind the line. It’ll be interesting to see if ‘Cuse has the same effectiveness from the perimeter with so many questions about who’s available by tip-off.

Syracuse versus Boston College preview by the numbers

All-time: Syracuse is 36-26 all-time against BC dating back to 1983, including a 20-9 record against the Eagles at home.

Last matchup: The Orange defeated the Eagles 83-73 on the road, its first road victory against BC since December 2020.

Win/loss implications: A win gives the Orange a much-needed confidence booster heading into a difficult end-of-season stretch and pushes ‘Cuse further into the middle of the pack in the ACC. A loss would be pretty deflating and further add to what has been a recent tough stretch of games for the Orange.

Prediction: BC’s offensive ceiling doesn’t rank highly, and the Orange have consistently fared well against the Eagles at home. The potential return of Hyman and Strong will be the x-factor for this game, especially because Boston College can get hot on the right night. I have Syracuse winning 70-59 at home, more because of the Orange’s potential defensive performance rather than its offensive production.

Syracuse vs. Boston College Team Stats

Statistical Categories Syracuse Boston College
Statistical Categories Syracuse Boston College
PPG 74.3 68
Opponent PPG 67.2 65.6
Margin of Victory plus-7.1 plus-2.4
FG% 42% 42%
Defensive FG% 41% 42%
3FG% 31% 28%
Defensive 3FG% 28% 34%
FT% 71% 67%
RPG 41.7 38.7
APG 13.4 14.8
T/O 15.6 20.1
A/T ratio 0.9 0.7
SPG 10.3 9.5
BPG 4.2 3.5