Syracuse women's basketball closes regular season with dominant win at Pittsburgh
Syracuse women's basketball secured a resounding 30-point victory headed into the ACC Tournament. Emily Shiroff details the win and what it means for the season's outlook.
Syracuse women's basketball cruised past Pittsburgh on Thursday evening, 85-55. The Orange now head into the ACC Tournament with an 18-11 overall record and a 9-9 ACC record, which puts them in eighth place in the conference.
The star of the show was Dyaisha Fair, yet again. The senior guard nailed seven threes on ten attempts, finishing the game with 23 points. All but one of her made field goals came from beyond the arch
Fair does have one year of eligibility remaining if she chooses to return to Syracuse. However, Lines has Fair projected to be selected 18th overall in this year’s WNBA Draft. Head Coach Felisha Legette-Jack has repeatedly stated that she hopes Fair will return for her final year of eligibility.
Aside from Fair, three other Syracuse players entered double digits. Asia Strong finished with 10 points, and Saniaa Wilson and Teisha Hyman tallied 12 points.
Notably, the Orange dominated the boards, out-rebounding the Panthers 40-27. Syracuse also moved the ball better and played more team-oriented basketball, recording 25 assists to Pittsburgh’s 13.
Syracuse’s defense was able to bolster the offense's performance, holding Pittsburgh to 38.9% and 35.3% from the field and from three, respectively. The defense also forced a whopping 20 turnovers.
Despite not breaking into double digits in the scoring column, Dariuana Lewis played an all-around good game. The senior forward scored eight points but also tallied seven rebounds, four assists, and three blocks.
For the Panthers, it was Maliyah Johnson leading the offense, scoring 12 points. Amber Brown and Avery Strickland were close behind, with 10 and 11 points, respectively. No player on the Panthers squad recorded more than three assists, a potential explanation for their lack of offensive productivity and success.
While any conference win is good, Pittsburgh is at the bottom of the ACC. As a bubble team, it would’ve been better for the Orange to face a stronger team to boost their resume. Despite the win being over a weak opponent, Syracuse is in ESPN’s Charlie Creme’s last four in category as of Friday morning.
On top of that, Syracuse is the last team in, according to Creme. That means that the Orange will have to earn their way into the field of 64. Creme’s projected bracket has Syracuse facing off against St. John’s in a 12-seed play-in game.
While not ideal, it’s still quite the accomplishment for Coach Legette-Jack and her squad. No first-year head coach in Syracuse women’s basketball program history has led their team to any postseason in their first year, NCAA Tournament or NIT.
Syracuse will know more about their next opponent, whom they will face in the ACC Tournament. The tournament will take place from March 1 to March 5 in Greensboro, NC.