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Upset Alert: Syracuse women's basketball dominates No. 14 North Carolina in biggest win of the year

The Syracuse bench celebrates in a huge 31-point third quarter for the Orange.
Syracuse bench brings the energy in a huge 31-point third quarter for the Orange.

Syracuse women's basketball dominates the third quarter and takes down No. 14 North Carolina. Luke Schwartz explains how with back-to-back wins as the regular season-ending approaches, SU is looking for more than just a first-round bye in the ACC tournament.

Raise your hand if you had Syracuse beating North Carolina tonight? Anybody?

Well, Syracuse did.

Despite the tough fourth quarter burnouts and games that slipped right out of its fingertips, tonight was not that night. Syracuse women's basketball trailed at halftime by two points 34-32, when Dyaisha Fair said her team realized they were playing for something bigger tonight.

Syracuse was not dressed up in the usual orange and white jerseys, but all pink on “Play4Kay” night to spread breast cancer awareness during a meaningful game. What already was a solid first half would soon be blown out of the water in the third quarter. The Orange knew that this game was for something much larger than themselves and they sure proved it.

31 points scored in the third quarter. The most this team has compiled in one quarter alone this season. Syracuse had 32 at the half and going into the fourth quarter, just threw up 63 points. This makes the Orange 6-1 in ACC play when Syracuse scores over 70 points. If the offensive is moving and grooving, the stats show that this is quite the difficult team to beat.

Fans felt some past nerves as the fourth quarter approached with Syracuse up 63-48, a 15-point margin. This feeling of leading against high quality and ranked opponents is nothing new to this squad. It is the end result that had Orange fans having flashbacks to previous breakdowns. Syracuse barely fell to No. 6 NC State after leading going into the fourth quarter, 49-40, but went nearly eight straight scoreless minutes to lose 56-54.

Whether you are a half glass full or half empty type of person, both sides felt a little nervous inside despite the impressive lead. Syracuse ended all worries by playing it smart in the final 10 minutes and cruised to an eight point victory over the Tar Heels.

Dyaisha Fair never ceases to amaze. The graduate student transfer from Buffalo notched her 25th consecutive game of scoring in double digits. 23 points on the night and shot just under 50 percent from three, going 4-9 from beyond the arc.

Dyaisha Fair (pink #2) rises up for a floater during her 23-point performance against North Carolina.
Dyaisha Fair rises up for a floater during her 23-point performance against North Carolina.

Georgia Woolley was lethal to start the third quarter. She went on a solo eight point tear to start the second half and the momentum carried the rest of her teammates. Woolley finished with 20 points and five rebounds.

Without Asia Strong for the second game in a row, Dariauna Lewis came to play. 14 points, 15 rebounds, one block and one steal on the stat sheet. The intangibles were the biggest for her. The energy, raw passion and enthusiasm was infectious and got her team and the fans going in the JMA Wireless game. When asked about how she felt about her performance, she kept it brief, “ten out of ten.”

It was, and her bully on the block mentality has caused havoc on opposing teams lately.

Felisha Legette-Jack grabbed the microphone on the court and started talking to the fans after a gritty and hard-fought win. She noted that this team is becoming more and more dangerous at the end of February and quoted the Colorado Buffaloes new football coach Deion Sanders by saying, “we are coming.”

A big win and on a night that means so much to not only this team, but the community on “Play4Kay” night. Syracuse improves to 7-7 in ACC play and 16-9 overall. The Orange have won back-to-back games with momentum to carry them on the road this weekend. Syracuse has another tough matchup against No. 10 Notre Dame at the Purcell Pavilion this upcoming Sunday.

Syracuse does not appear to be trying to slip into the top nine for an ACC tournament first-round bye, but are aiming for something much higher and brighter.