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Syracuse Women’s Basketball Prepares for the Season with Exhibition Against Le Moyne

MICHAEL OKONIEWSKI/Michael J. Okoniewski
Syracuse guard Teisha Hyman drives for a layup against No. 4 Louisville during the Cardinals’ 100-66 destruction of the Orange on Sunday, Feb. 6 from the Carrier Dome (now JMA Wireless Dome) in Syracuse, N.Y.

A pseudo-rivalry fastened only to the 1970s, a new chapter in the history books between Syracuse women’s basketball and Le Moyne takes place on Thursday, Nov. 3, nearly 50 years after their last meeting.

The first matchup came in the Orange’s inaugural season on Valentine’s Day of 1972. S.U. won that bout 28-22.

The rivalry is so unique that the only three regular season contests came in the Cuse program’s first two seasons with Syracuse taking every game. Not only is this the Dolphins’ first visit to the Dome, but this is the first exhibition game for the Orange since a November 7, 2004 meeting with Syracuse AAU (the Orange won 72-63).

This exhibition occurs just over a month after Le Moyne announced its intent to move up to Division I, so this event previews future regular season contests between the Dolphins and the Orange.

Syracuse fans will get to watch the brand new squad for the equally novel head coach Felisha Legette-Jack. The headswoman played for Syracuse in the late 1980s, winning the 1985 Big East Rookie of the Year, leading the Orange to the 1985 Big East Championship, and the school’s first NCAA Tournament berth in the same year.

The coach said she expects her team to compete at a high level this season. Legette-Jack said, “Our moment is now. They play the game, and we expect to go out there and win… We’re Syracuse University, we have to go out there and earn the right to win.”

Legette-Jack’s number 33 hangs in the rafters of the Dome, and she brought several players from the University at Buffalo with her in the transfer to Syracuse.

Drexel v Syracuse
Bryan Bennett/Getty Images
New Syracuse women’s basketball head coach Felisha Legette-Jack hoists a Syracuse jersey bearing her name and the number 33 that she wore throughout her collegiate career during her jersey retirement ceremony, making her the first woman to have her number retired in the Carrier Dome (now JMA Wireless Dome), during the women’s basketball game between Syracuse and Notre Dame which the Fighting Irish won 82-56 in Syracuse, N.Y.

This event provides Syracuse with an opportunity to show off a familiar leader in guard Teisha Hyman, as well as transfer students from the University at Buffalo guard Dyaisha Fair, Cheyenne McEvans, Olivia Owens, Kyra Wood, and Saniaa Wilson.

Hyman stands as the longest-tenured player on the team. The White Plains-native is no stranger to working with new coaches having played under now-disgraced former head coach Quentin Hillsman in her freshman season 2019-20, sitting out her sophomore year due to injury in 2020-21, and leading the Orange in scoring as a sophomore under Interim head coach Vonn Read in 2021-22.

She said that the opportunity to play for her third coach at S.U. does not cause her any doubt. The redshirt-sophomore said, “I’m really a solid kid, I’m not used to changing. High school, I stayed all four years – different coaches, as well. AAU, I stayed – different coaches, they left. I’m staying. I’m kinda just used to it. I like a challenge, honestly. When things get hard I want to figure out, ‘Is it me?’”

Hyman led the 2021-22 Orange in points scored, assists, rebounds, and steals, even coming close to a rare quadruple-double early in the season in a 116-65 thrashing of Central Connecticut State. In that drubbing, she nabbed 27 points, 15 assists, eight rebounds, and 11 steals.

As for the Buffalo-newcomers, Fair led both the Bulls and the entire MAC Conference in scoring. Fair enters this season as one of the five players listed on the ACC Newcomer Watchlist. Georgia Woolley led the U.B. squad in steals, as well.