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

Redemption time for the Orange.

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

For the first time in three years, the #25 Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team (11-2, 1-1) returns Sunday evening for a home game as an AP Top-25 program. The Orange will be looking for a much-needed bounce back win back at home against the Boston College Eagles (9-6, 1-1).

Syracuse is coming off its worst loss of the season — a 75-51 defeat on the road to the North Carolina Tar Heels on Thursday. The loss ended Syracuse’s eight-game winning streak and brought Syracuse back to .500 in the ACC.

Boston College enters Sunday’s game with wins in six of its last seven games, most recently holding off the Miami Hurricanes 70-64 at home. The Eagles finished 16-17 last season, which included a 5-13 record against the ACC. Syracuse beat Boston College twice in 2022-2023 during Felisha Legette-Jack’s first season as head coach of the Orange.

Tip-off between Syracuse and BC is set for 6 p.m. EST at the JMA Wireless Dome. The game will also be available for stream on the ACC Network.

Here’s what to watch for:

Protect the inside at all costs

Syracuse’s poor shooting ultimately doomed any chance at beating UNC, but the Orange’s offense will rarely have those off-nights. The defense, however, is equally as vital — especially when Syracuse can force turnovers and get out in transition.

Boston College enters as both a poor free throw and three-point shooting team, ranking in the bottom-five in the ACC in percentage for both categories. BC’s main avenues to score will either be via forcing turnovers (where Syracuse has certainly had its struggles) or attacking the rim.

The Orange have to do an improved job at putting pressure around the rim and mitigating the second-chance opportunities it forked over to the Tar Heels.

Be more aggressive

Legette-Jack emphasized that a ton, especially on offense, after the UNC loss. Against the Tar Heels, Syracuse took 71 total field goals — 30 of them (roughly 42%) were three-point attempts. The Orange only shot 20%, which is an oddity compared to their average, but the volume itself was also way too high. Syracuse had seven free throw attempts all game and rarely looked to put pressure on the rim.

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

The Orange’s guards, in particular, have to be willing to settle less for contested and pull-up jumpers. Attacking the basket will put pressure on the inside and open things up on the outside.

What’s the final crowd looking like?

This is Syracuse’s first home game since the Orange’s upset over Notre Dame on New Years Eve. Since then, the Orange jumped into the AP top 25 but followed that up with the ugly loss to UNC. Syracuse is an elite team when it plays at home, and with the arrow as well as optimism on the rise among the local fanbase, you’d hope we could start seeing some bigger crowds slowly but surely.

Syracuse versus Boston College preview by the numbers

All-time: Syracuse is 37-26 all-time versus Boston College dating back to the 1982-1983 season, and included a 21-9 all-time record at home.

Last matchup: The Orange defeated BC twice last season, most recently at home 79-72 in February.

Win/loss implications: A win for Syracuse gives the program its first win as an AP top 25 team this season and pushes the Orange to a 9-0 record this season in the Dome, while defeat hands the Orange its first set of back-to-back losses all year.

Prediction: Syracuse will certainly look to come out more aggressive, and it’s hard to overlook the Orange’s home court advantage. The Eagles will keep things modestly close, but I’ve got Syracuse winning 78-68.

Syracuse vs. Boston College Team Stats

Statistical Categories Syracuse Boston College
Statistical Categories Syracuse Boston College
PPG 79.2 77.4
Opponent PPG 62.2 64.9
Margin of Victory plus-17 plus-12.5
FG% 44% 46%
Defensive FG% 38% 44%
3FG% 32% 30%
Defensive 3FG% 31% 34%
FT% 73% 67%
RPG 45 36.3
APG 13.9 16.7
T/O 15 15.5
A/T ratio 0.9 1.1
SPG 9.5 12.8
BPG 5.1 3.4