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Syracuse women’s basketball: Orange sneak past Georgia Tech 62-59 at home

Syracuse holds on down the stretch for its second win in a row.

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

In a game that came down to the last possession, the #23 Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team (19-4, 9-3) came out on top to defeat the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (14-10, 5-7) 62-59 on Thursday night.

After trailing by as much as eight points, Syracuse took command during the second and third quarters before ultimately holding on down the stretch in the fourth quarter for the program’s second-straight win. Despite the lack of offense on both sides, the Orange’s bench outscored the Yellow Jackets’ 29-10 thanks to the performances of Izabel Varejão and Alyssa Latham.

Varejão tied her career-high in scoring with 13 points and 7 rebounds on 6/9 shooting in her first game back from an injury suffered in December. Latham finished with 12 points and 8 rebounds, while Dyaisha Fair finished with a team-high 17 points on 5/18 shooting along with 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Syracuse won the defensive battle at home despite shooting just 3/14 (21%) from three and 9/17 (53%) from the foul line.

Just like the Orange, three players finished in double-figures for Georgia Tech. Kara Dunn scored 17 points on 7/12 shooting to lead the Yellow Jackets. Dunn, Kayla Blackshear (15 points) and Tonie Morgan (12 points) combined for 44 of Georgia Tech’s 59 points.

Both teams started off on fire from the floor as both Syracuse and Georgia Tech each shot at least 50% from the field in the first quarter, but the Orange faced a 19-17 deficit early on. Syracuse’s offense started to cool off to start the second quarter as the Yellow Jackets extended their lead by as much as eight points (31-23) by the second media timeout.

After a two-minute stretch without points for either team, Latham nailed a two-point jumper which resulted in a quick 5-0 run to cut the Orange’s deficit to 31-28 by halftime. Syracuse only shot 3/12 in the second quarter.

Latham kicked off the second half with a pair of made free throws which was followed up by a three-pointer from Georgia Woolley to give the Orange a 33-31 lead. Georgia Tech proceeded to go on a scoring run to go up by eight points again (43-35) — the Orange’s largest deficit for the rest of the game.

From here, the momentum proceeded to go in Syracuse’s favor. The Orange ended the third quarter with an 9-0 run which was capped off by a free throw from Kyra Wood to give Syracuse a 44-43 lead entering the fourth quarter.

Both teams battled back and forth as neither team took more than a three-point lead throughout the fourth quarter. After Georgia Tech pushed its lead to 53-50, Varejão made this and-one shot to tie things right back up.

In the end, even with Syracuse’s own sluggish offense, the Orange held the Yellow Jackets scoreless for roughly the game’s final two and a half minutes which included five-straight misses by Georgia Tech.

With Syracuse up 60-59 with 48 seconds left to go and Georgia Tech running in transition, Kennedi Perkins came up with this huge block in the clutch.

Fair hit two three throws and Georgia Tech failed to tie the game on its last possession. The Orange survived in the end to move to 12-1 in the JMA Wireless Dome this season.

Next up for the Orange is a matchup at the Dome versus the #15 Louisville Cardinals, who is coming off a seven-point win over #12 Notre Dame. Similar to its last game versus the Cardinals, both teams will enter Sunday’s game in the AP top 25. Tip-off is at 12 p.m. EST.