The Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team has turned its attention getting ready for next season in year two under head coach Felisha Legette-Jack.
The Orange shined in Legette-Jack’s first season improving by nine wins this past season as Legette-Jack guided the program to a 20-13 record overall, plus a trip to the Round of 16 in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament.
With all that said, what is the state of the roster moving forward? What offseason additions did Legette-Jack bring in to steer the Orange toward a potential postseason bid?
Let’s break it down.
Who’s staying, who’s going
Three members of the Orange graduated from the program: Dariauna Lewis, Asia Strong and Ava Irvin. The first of those two were critical for Syracuse this past season in shoring up the forward depth, especially with Lewis’ (9.8 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game) two-way effort and defense as well as Strong’s (7.4 points and 4.8 rebounds per game) ability to space the floor from mid-range and three.
The Orange also lost two players, Teisha Hyman (10.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.9 steals per game) and Nyah Wilson, to the transfer portal. Wilson played sparingly last season, but Hyman is the more interesting story. She excelled with the Orange in 2021-2022, but quietly fell out of favor last season. Georgia Woolley.
Here is the current 13-player roster:
Fair, Rice, Georgia Woolley, Kennedi Perkins, Lexi McNabb, Cheyenne McEvans, Kyra Wood, Saniaa Wilson, Dominique Camp, Maria-Eleni Triantafylli, Izabel Varejão, Alyssa Latham, Sophie Burrows
The new additions
Legette-Jack balanced the roster out with a couple of veteran transfers joining the mix of incoming freshman class. Suddenly, the Orange do possess some legitimate depth at each position.
The first transfer acquisition for Syracuse was Dominique Camp, a former Akron guard who played under Legette-Jack with Buffalo. She averaged nearly 11 points and 4 assists per game this past season, giving the Orange some added insurance at guard. Her biggest bonuses come as a passer - providing ‘Cuse with an extra playmaker. Her reputation on defense (2.5 steals per game last season) means the program possesses another pesky, on-the-ball defender who will fit into the Orange’s “force turnovers and get out in transition” philosophy.
Camp will likely come off the bench, but she provides some experience to the second unit. Camp’s most pivotal ability for the Orange is giving Legette-Jack a legit playmaker who can keep the offense going.
Legette-Jack also addressed some of the Orange’s more-dire needs: interior rim protection and a lack of size in general. Syracuse didn’t fare well last season against stronger, bigger opposition, especially against the ACC.
Bringing in both six-foot-five center recruit Maria-Eleni Triantafylli from Greece and six-foot-four center Izabel Varejão out of Michigan gives Syracuse height, paint defense and just some bigger bodies down low. Opponents won’t be able to just walk in to the paint at free will. With Legette-Jack going more with a 2-3 zone defense, she’ll need Triantafylli and Varejão to play some solid minutes alongside Saniaa Wilson and Kyra Wood.
The most promising additions are incoming freshman forwards Alyssa Latham and Sophie Burrows, two forwards who bring positional versatility, height, and athleticism. Latham is a top-100 recruit while Burrows has played against professionals in Australia. They could be ready to step right in to replace Lewis and Strong’s production.
Legette-Jack found a solid balance this offseason by retaining a strong core of veteran players, bringing in transfers to fill in the gaps and rounding out the rotation with promising youngsters. If either Latham and/or Burrows fares well, that just adds on to a solidly deep rotation. If one of both need some more time to develop, Syracuse still possesses the veteran depth needed to fill in at those spots.
Over the course of this summer, we’ll be breaking down some of the more-pressing questions with potential rotations, lineup combinations and where each player fits into the mix.
For now, it’s safe to say there’s a lot to like about next year’s group.