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Syracuse women’s basketball: Orange cruise past Pittsburgh 72-59, improve to 16-2 overall

Syracuse escapes the Pitt of Doom with its fifth-straight win.

NCAA Womens Basketball: ACC/SEC Challenge-Alabama at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

While there was no unthinkable comeback needed this time, the Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team (16-2, 6-1) rallied from an eight-point deficit to comfortably defeat the Pittsburgh Panthers (6-13, 0-6) 72-59 on Sunday afternoon — handing the program its 25th-consecutive win over Pitt.

Despite shooting just 37% from the field all game, the Orange rallied from the first quarter onward as Dyaisha Fair and Georgia Woolley combined for 42 of Syracuse’s 72 points to lead the way. Syracuse shot 10/31 from three to ignite most of its offense and outscored the Panthers 25-9 in points off turnovers, which helped to guide the Orange to their fifth-straight win and third road victory of the season.

Fair led the Orange with a team-high 22 points along with 6 assists and 4 steals, while Woolley finished with 20 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. While the backcourt duo shouldered most of the scoring load, the rest of the team finally got going late to hep keep the Orange out in front for most of the game.

Alaina Rice finished with 13 points and four steals, while Kyra Wood (8 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocks) and Saniaa Wilson (9 points and 13 rebounds off the bench) continued to be a spark around the basket.

Liatu King finished with a game-high 27 points on 12/19 shooting and scored nearly half of Pitt’s total points. The Panthers shot just 2/14 from three and turned the ball over 17 times.

Georgia Woolley scored the Orange’s first basket on a mid-range jumper, but Pitt had the early advantage after Syracuse went through a three-minute scoreless stretch. King made back-to-back shots and Pitt led by two points by the first media timeout, while an 0/5 start from three made points difficult for Syracuse to get early.

King scored nine points on perfect shooting as Pitt went up as much as seven points in the first quarter. Syracuse shot just 6/19 overall and 0/7 from three, but Woolley scored half of Syracuse’s points as the Orange ended the first quarter down 17-12.

Pitt extended its lead up to eight points, but a three-pointer by Fair kicked off a 12-0 scoring run as Syracuse regained a four-point lead (24-20) close to the next media timeout. Wollley continued her hot start and scored two-straight baskets to give SU the lead, while Pitt’s offense started to cool off as the Panthers went three minutes without any points to begin the second.

During what became a 21-4 scoring run, Fair knocked down three consecutive three-pointers to give the Orange as much as a nine-point lead in the second quarter. Syracuse held the Panthers to just 11 points in the quarter and entered halftime up 35-28. The Fair-Woolley backcourt combined for 25 of the Orange’s 35 first-half points.

King scored 18 points on 8/13 shooting for Pitt while the rest of the Panthers combined to shoot just 4/19 from the field.

Woolley knocked down two straights to extend the Orange’s lead to 13 points (41-28). A stretch of bad turnovers led to a 6-0 run by Pitt, but Saniaa Wilson came off the bench and responded with a basket around the rim to put Syracuse back up by nine points. Pitt yet again cut the Orange’s lead down to five points, but another three from Fair at the end of the shot clock kept Syracuse out in front. The Orange entered the fourth quarter up 53-45.

King scored another basket to the Orange’s lead down to six points, but Rice and Fair each knocked down consecutive threes to spark a 10-0 scoring up that ultimately put the game out of reach.

Up next for the Orange is a gauntlet stretch of three-straight games versus AP top 25 ACC opponents, beginning with a rematch on Thursday night against the #19 Notre Dame Fighting Irish in South Bend.