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Orange hope to bounce back against Bucknell

Dariauna Lewis attempts a pass past a Penn State defender.
Dariauna Lewis in Syracuse’s game against Penn State.

Syracuse women's basketball hopes to recover from a painful loss against Bucknell on Friday. WAER's Emily Shiroff details tonight's matchup between the Orange and Bison.

The Syracuse women’s basketball team is looking to bounce back Friday against Bucknell after suffering its first loss of the season on Monday.

The Orange blew a 41-23 halftime lead to a Penn State squad propelled by Makenna Marisa and Shay Ciezki, ultimately losing 82-69. 37 of Penn State’s points came in the fourth quarter, during which they outscored the Orange by 23.

Anyone that caught the first half of the game would be shocked to discover that Syracuse ultimately lost, but the team collapsed in the final 10 minutes. On both ends of the court, the Orange abandoned everything that had led to their success so far this season.

One of Syracuse’s biggest offensive contributors struggled, which was a major part of the loss. Dariauna Lewis had recorded a double-double in every game of the season before facing the Nittany Lions but was held to just four points Monday night.

Dariauna Lewis and Alaina Rice help Asia Strong up from the floor.
Dariauna Lewis, Alaina Rice and Asia Strong in Syracuse’s game against Penn State.

The Bucknell Bison are 2-3 on the season, having yet to face a team in their conference, the Patriot League. However, they have done something Syracuse has not: face a top-25 team.

The Bison fell to Virginia Tech on November 11, 67-41. The Hokies were the 13th-ranked team in the country at the time. Before the Nittany Lions, the Orange had yet to face a Power 5 opponent, let alone a top-25 team.

Bucknell’s other two losses came to less remarkable opponents. The Bison lost to Fairleigh-Dickinson and St. Joseph’s, as well. Their two wins came against Cornell and Iona. They are on a two-game winning streak, meaning they will be coming into the JMA Wireless Dome with some confidence.

The majority of Bucknell’s success can be attributed to two players. Sophomore guard Cecelia Collins leads the team in scoring, assists, and steals, while also averaging the most minutes of anyone on the roster. At six feet, she’s taller than a good chunk of Syracuse’s players. Locking her down is a must if the Orange hope to pick up a win.

Senior forward Emma Shaffer is Bucknell’s other star. She leads the team in rebounds and blocks, and averages the second-most minutes. Her size is a major threat. At 6-foot-2, the Orange can expect her to pull down lots of rebounds and put up a fight under the rim offensively.

If anyone on the Orange squad can stop Shaffer, it will be Dariauna Lewis or Asia Strong. They are the only two Syracuse starters who have the height to rival Shaffer in the paint and beat her out for rebounds.

This is a good bounce-back opportunity for the Orange following a devastating and disappointing loss. A win against Bucknell would provide good momentum going into two straight road tests at Purdue and Yale, respectively.

Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. in the JMA Wireless Dome Friday night.