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An opportunity to change the narrative for Syracuse Women’s basketball

Syracuse teammates help Georgia Woolley (white #5) up off the hardwood floor.
(C) 2023 Danyell Monk
Syracuse teammates help Georgia Woolley up off the hardwood floor.

Syracuse women's basketball looks to get back in the win column tonight in the Dome. Luke Schwartz previews SU's chance to break its three-game losing streak against Virginia.

In any sport at any time during the season, what is the best way to change the narrative?


Winning solves everything. Missed shots are excruciatingly examined through a magnifying glass, late-game decisions are questioned and small mistakes are made out to feel like the weight of an elephant when it is closer to the size of a bug.

Syracuse finds itself in a tough situation. After starting the season 4-2 in ACC play where this team was in the top four, now sits among the lower rung with three straight conference losses.

A head-scratcher for fans and media experts after the Orange were rolling with three straight wins over Pittsburgh, Clemson and Boston College. Dyaisha Fair scored more than 20 points in all three contests and this new identity Syracuse team was shining through their tough and aggressive defense and impressive ball movement.

The positives have not been the case lately. After a dismal loss to Georgia Tech on the road, who was 0-7 in conference play before the game to Syracuse, falling to ranked Notre Dame and Duke, one big narrative stands out: Syracuse is not finishing games.

In Syracuse’s five losses in conference play, the last four, the Orange have been outscored in the fourth quarter. If these games were to 30 minutes, the Orange would have some major victories over ranked opponents and may even have a ranking themselves. But three straight games of scoring in the fifties and not finishing strong has been their downfall.

At 4-5 in conference play, Syracuse faces another tough test tonight against the visiting Virginia Cavaliers. The Hoos walk into the JMA Wireless Dome with an overall record of 14-6 and 3-6 in conference play.

Virginia got off to a smoking hot start this season with a bolstering 12-0 record. The Cavs were cursing until the majority of ACC play rolled in. Since the brilliant start, the Cavaliers are 2-6 over their last eight games and have not got the job done against conference foes.

Virginia runs a 2-3 defense and is a young team that is sprinting ahead of the court to put up fast break points. Physical and aggressive off the glass and a team full of fighters.

Virginia is led by senior Camryn Taylor who leads her team in points per game at 13.0 while tallying 6.0 rebounds. She is fast with the rock and she will not wait for her defender to get set in order for her to dash to the rim. She is going to take the most shots of anyone on her squad and is looking to score on most possessions.

Although there are multiple weapons on this roster, the final major player to keep an eye out for is Sam Brunelle. A graduate student transfer who spent the past three years at Notre Dame. She shoots at a solid clip from three-point range and ranks third on her team in scoring per game. She has a quick trigger release that can be deadly when her team needs a big shot down the stretch.

Both teams share a similarity in the category of head coaches. Each coach is in their first season with their respective team and started the season quite well, but have fallen back a bit. Virginia is led by Amaka Ugugua-Hamilton or “Coach Mox” as she goes by. Coach Mox comes from the past three seasons at Missouri State where she led her team to two NCAA Tournament appearances.

The cool story about Amaka Ugugua-Hamilton is that when Syracuse head coach Felisha Legette-Jack got her first head coaching role with the Hofstra Pride back in 2002, Ugugua-Hamilton was a sophomore point guard for the Pride. Former mentor and mentee matchup on the slate.

Syracuse will try and get back in the win column against Virginia as the team has not looked quite like itself. Dyaisha Fair continues to dazzle with 20 straight double-digit point performances, but the numbers have declined, and her lack of scoring has felt a bit infectious on the rest of the team.

For Coach Legette-Jack and the Orange, a win tonight would change the narrative and get this team back on track.

Tip-off is set for 7:00 pm in the JMA Wireless dome tonight.