Finishing games remains a dominant storyline for this year’s Orange, looking strong against its opposition for 20-25 minutes before flaming out typically in the third and fourth quarters. For a moment, it looked like deja vu, with the Eagles cutting the Orange’s 22-point lead down to single-digits in a strong comeback effort.
But this time, ‘Cuse held on behind some strong performances by the starters and superb outside shooting from the Orange. Using its aggressiveness to either attack the rim or capitalize on second-chance opportunities, Syracuse (15-9, 6-7) held on in the end, defeating BC (14-12, 4-9) 79-72 Sunday afternoon in the JMA Wireless Dome.
Check out the highlights from today's home win vs. BC pic.twitter.com/Ju4X2KI4fw— 'Cuse Hoops (@CuseWBB) February 5, 2023
With both Teisha Hyman and Asia Strong both still out with injury, Syracuse relied heavily on its starters in a game where the Orange’s bench contributors chipped in just seven points.
The offense began and ended with Dyaisha Fair, who finished with 24 points and 7 assists. Despite shooting just 2/8 from three, Fair made up for her lack of perimeter play with one of her best games as an interior scorer, finishing 5/9 from two-point range and 8/8 from the foul line.
More importantly, Fair reached an incredible milestone of 2,500 points in her collegiate career, becoming just the second active player to reach that scoring benchmark.
The rest of Syracuse’s guards stepped up to the plate when it mattered most. Georgia Woolley finished with her second-straight game scoring 15+ points and her fourth 20-point game of the season, including 18 points in the first half. She also chipped in 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, and 2 steals to cap off a surprising all-around performance. Alaina Rice also stuffed the stat sheet, finishing with 9 points on 3/6 shooting from three with 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals.
Dariauna Lewis also stepped up against BC on both ends of the court, finishing the game with 15 points and 9 rebounds, one rebound shy of her ninth double-double of the year.
To play devil’s advocate, Syracuse’s offense struggled to get efficient shots outside of mostly-open three-point looks. The Orange shot 7/17 (35%) from three, mainly getting its other points from the foul line (18/21 on free throws) and multi-possession opportunities (17- margin in second-chance points). BC dominated on the inside, blocking eight shots compared to just two rejections from ‘Cuse coupled with a 12-point advantage in paint points.
Turnovers also killed the Orange, especially in the second half as the Eagles powered its offense mainly through its 24-10 advantage in fastbreak points.
The first quarter proved to be the most back-and-forth of the game, as the Orange were ahead of Boston College for over 36 minutes worth of game time. Syracuse stormed ahead early thanks to an 11-2 run, but the Eagles fired back with a 13-0 run of its own thanks to a 7/11 start from the field with six of its field goals coming off of assists.
The Orange took control late in the first quarter with another scoring run to take a 24-17 lead, which it extended to as much as 22 points (54-32) with over seven minutes left to go in the third quarter.
Despite Syracuse being outscored 40-25 in the game’s final 17 minutes, the Orange held on long enough to complete the season sweep of the Eagles with a 79-72 victory at home, coach Felisha Legette-Jack’s first ACC sweep of her career.
(And, for the sake of bragging rights, Syracuse basketball combined to go 4-0 this year against BC. It’s the small victories that count.).
Next game on the agenda:
Up next for the Orange is a three-game stretch against ranked conference opponents. First up on the ACC murderers’ row is a home matchup Thursday evening against the #11 North Carolina Tar Heels (17-6, 8-4).
Now it’s your turn: what do you think of the Orange’s redemptive performance against the Eagles? Leave your thoughts from Sunday’s game down below.