One final test at the Dome for Syracuse Seniors against Miami
SENIOR DAY: For five players suiting up in orange, this game means a lot more, knowing it is their last inside the Dome. Luke Schwartz details how Syracuse has an opportunity to sweeten this Sunday with a win for its seniors.
In the snap of a finger, the final home game of the season has arrived.
From Syracuse women's basketball's exhibition victory against Le Moyne to crack in the newly named JMA Wireless Dome to taking down fourteenth-ranked North Carolina, the Orange have made some memorable moments on their home floor this year.
With one game remaining on familiar stomping grounds, Syracuse will try to put one last good memory in their heads for five seniors and this entire team before the ACC tournament.
For Dyaisha Fair, Alaina Rice, Asia Strong, Dariauna Lewis and Ava Irvin, this game means a little bit more.
All five will be honored for their time, commitment and impact both on and off the floor for Syracuse. Some come from a transfer background, whereas others have spent the majority of their college career in orange, but each player has left their own mark on the program for the future.
Syracuse has been on a bit of a downward slide over the last ten games with a 3-7 record. Losers of the past two games where the Orange were outscored in the fourth quarter, and the paint battle was nowhere near what Syracuse would have wanted it to be.
For head coach Felisha Legette-Jack and her squad, this team has continued to preach about focusing on the next team ahead and their opponent today is one with multiple talents and sophisticated strategies.
Miami comes into this matchup at 17-9 overall and 10-5 in ACC play. Flip Syracuse’s record over the past ten games and it sums up Miami’s past few weeks. 7-3 and one overtime victory against Clemson in a nail-biter finish for the Hurricanes.
The Orange and Green average 71.4 points per game while dominating on defense with over nine and a half steals per contest. Two players are averaging double digits in points, and have seven players that are from international countries: Spain, France, Sweden, Croatia and Canada.
One player that is not international and grew up in Gilbert, Arizona, is Haley Cavinder. Arguably the best player on this team and one of the best free-throw shooters in the country. Cavinder averages a team-high 12.8 points per game and 2.5 assists per match.
The transfer from Fresno State set an NCAA record in free throw percentage at 97.3 by shooting 109-112. Just three misses all season. An incredible feat by the senior transfer.
The Robin to her Batman is point guard Destiny Harden. Harden averages 12.0 points per game and has recorded multiple games with a few three-point makes in a single game. She is crafty with the basketball and does not shy away from a little contact near the rim. If you watch her closely, you can see just how intelligent of a player she is when the basketball is not in her hands.
Miami is currently ranked eighth in the conference and are led by their solid rock of a head coach Katie Meier who is in her eighteenth year with the Hurricanes. The 2011 AP National Coach of the Year who has turned Miami into a national powerhouse year after year in the NCAA tournament.
Syracuse has a chance to win its eighth conference matchup after a 4-14 ACC record a season ago. The Orange are 16-11 overall with a solid chance to lock up a first-round bye in the ACC tournament with a win today.
With Dyaisha Fair averaging 20.1 points per game and being arguably the best scorer in the conference, plus Georgia Woolley averaging 17.7 points over the last seven games and Dariauna Lewis with three-straight double-double outings, this is going to be a tough team to beat on its home floor.
For Syracuse as a team and a fan base, the hope is that senior day can fuel this team to have enough energy and strategy to last all four quarters because the final 10 minutes of games is where this squad tends to have a little bit of trouble. Getting outscored in the fourth, seven of their nine conference losses.
Tip-off is set for 1:00 in the JMA Wireless Dome.