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Rocky road test stares down Syracuse women’s basketball

Georgia Woolley (white #5) shoots over a Pitt defender.
(C) 2023 Danyell Monk
Georgia Woolley puts up a right-hand layup against Pittsburgh.

Playing on the road has not been easy for Syracuse women's basketball. WAER's Luke Schwartz previews SU's chance to grab its first road ACC win this afternoon against Clemson.


Seven letters, one word, and a team motto for the Orange.

Georgia Woolley had only one thing on her mind when following the team's 89-71 victory against Pittsburgh.

It was compete.

At 11-4 and 2-2 in conference play, Syracuse has already tied the number of total wins the program posted a season ago. The Orange are 10-1 at home and have proven their dominance in front of a home crowd in the 315.

Traveling on the road, however, is a far different story. Just 1-3 on the year, and the squad's sole victory with their bags packed came against Yale in a smashing comeback victory against the Bulldogs.

So, how does Syracuse match up against the Clemson Tigers in South Carolina? If history has shown us anything this year, favor belongs to the home team. But since 2023 rolled around, Syracuse almost looks reborn.

In two games in the new year, the Orange barely lost to sixth ranked NC State 56-54 and trounced the Panthers of Pittsburgh 89-71. 1-1 since the ball dropped in Times Square and yet it hasn’t felt like this team has lost.

Georgia Woolley is helped up by her teammates.
(C) 2023 Danyell Monk
Georgia Woolley is helped up by her teammates.

Everything is firing on all cylinders. Georgia Woolley has been the “IT” factor. 23-point performances in back-to-back games has her name rising up on scouting reports. She hit three three-point shots against Pitt while adding a few offensive putbacks and five steals to lead the team. Her overall play is stifling defenses because she’s not a one-trick pony.

For Dyaisha Fair, it might be time to change her name to Unfair. She scored just two points going into halftime against Pittsburgh. For someone who has scored double digits in all 14 previous games this season, it wasn’t looking too good for the Orange’s leading scorer.

That all change led quite quickly out of the break. Fair exploded for 22 points in the second half, hitting four from downtown and leading the team in points. She wore confidence on her face and found the rhythm Syracuse fans have become accustomed to in her game.

Dyaisha Fair (white #2) shoots over a Pitt defender.
(C) 2023 Danyell Monk
Dyaisha Fair pulls up for a three-point shot in the second half against Pittsburgh.

Dariauna Lewis, Asia Strong and Kyra Wood evolve in every game. Strong is fearless at the basket and is not shy from attempting a three. Dariauna Lewis posted 12 points and four blocks where Kyra Wood had nine points and three blocks against Pitt. Wood has started back-to-back games and her confidence is showing and making her more lethal near the rim.

The question really comes down to what Teisha Hyman are fans going to get? Will it be a performance like Louisville with 26 points or Purdue with 27? Or could it look like NC State where she shoots 0-6 and overthrows the potential game-winning inbounds pass?

Teisha Hyman has made the adjustment from shooting guard to point guard. Hyman has been doing the intangibles with good passes, defense and spreading the rock well. She is an asset, but hopefully she can have another dominant road performance like Syracuse fans have already seen.

Enough about Syracuse, let us talk about the opponents: Clemson Tigers.

The orange and purple are neck and neck with Syracuse at 11-5 overall and 2-2 in conference play.

Clemson is coming off their toughest loss of the season. A 31-point beat down against ACC foe, Florida State. Luckily for Clemson, the Tigers are no pushovers at home. The team is 8-1 protecting their home floor.

Clemson is extremely scrappy and plays tough defense. The Tigers average 10.5 steals per game and will make opponents pay by turning those forced turnovers into points of their own.

The Tigers have lacked the three-point shot all season at 29% and from the field at 41%. This isn’t a towering team either, Syracuse will enjoy the matchups down low for Lewis, Strong and Wood for the height advantage.

A few names and numbers to know: Number five Amari Robinson and number 22 Ruby Whitehorn. Both players are averaging over 12 points per game and shoot more than 50% of their shots inside the three-point range. They are both solid spot up shooters and fast inside the lane.

Amari Robinson has been terrific though this season scoring 12.5 points per game, averaging 6.6 rebounds and has scored in double digits in 11 of 16 games played.

Even with the lacking deep ball, number two Daisha Bradford will put up a bunch of threes. She’s made the most at 23 and has attempted 70 on the season. She’s a quick trigger with the basketball and will need a hand in her face or she will make defenses pay.

This is not an easy task for Syracuse on the road and playing in unfamiliar territory. But if this team keeps the same mindset since the new year rolled around by competing, the Orange should put up a great fight for a thrilling ACC battle.

Tip-off is set for 2:00 on Sunday, January 8th at the LittleJohn Coliseum, and the game will be broadcast on WAER with McClurg team countdown to tipoff beginnning at 1:30.