Syracuse tallies historic shooting performance in 101-63 beatdown of Central Connecticut
Dyaisha Fair received a pass from Lexi McNabb with time winding down in the first quarter. Standing on the JMA Wireless logo way beyond the three-point line, the guard took one dribble forward and fired, splashing a 30-foot triple before the buzzer.
Syracuse's (2-0, 0-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) offense scored at will in its 101-53 blowout win over Central Connecticut (0-2, 0-0 Northeast Conference). The Orange shot just under 63% from the field, the most accurate offensive display in a game coached by Felisha Legette-Jack. Fair led the way with 28 points, while Sophie Burrows, Alyssa Latham, Alaina Rice and Kyra Wood all finished in double figures.
"I thought the ball got shared so well as a team. I was humbled by the things we've done and the unselfish play," Legette-Jack said.
Prior to tipoff, Syracuse guard Dominique Camp announced that she would be sidelined for the rest of the season with a knee injury, according to her X account. Camp transferred to SU after averaging 10.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists with the Akron Zips last season. She previously played under Felisha Legette-Jack at Buffalo during the 2021-2022 campaign.
Syracuse rallied around its fallen teammate and came out of the gates hot. Sophie Burrows opened the scoring by banking in a triple from the top of the key, then Izabel Varejao backed down a Blue Devil defender in the post and converted an easy layup. After a rebound by Alyssa Latham, the freshman found Fair open in transition, who drilled a three from the wing to put the Orange in front 12-5.
But strong shooting from Central Connecticut kept the game close midway through the first quarter. Belle Lanpher, Ally Sentance and Meghan Kenefick each knocked down a shot from beyond the arc in the first eight minutes. For comparison, the Blue Devils only made one shot from deep in their first game against Manhattan (1-for-17). Fair quickly shut down any momentum from the visitors, racking up seven points in the quarter's last two minutes. The graduate student splashed her second triple with seven seconds left in the first, giving her 14 points and SU an 11-point lead after 10 minutes.
"My staff does a good job of reminding me what I'm capable of doing," Fair said. "I think today [I had] a good night."
Fair's offensive prowess and SU's suffocating defense helped the Orange grow their advantage in the second quarter. The sharpshooter found ways to get open on the wings and sunk two more threes before driving to the rim for two more, giving her 22 points at halftime. On the other end, Varejao and Alaina Rice disrupted multiple Central Connecticut by stepping into passing lanes. The duo notched four steals in the second quarter alone. As a whole, Syracuse's defense forced 15 first-half turnovers, which was more than it had in all of Tuesday's season-opener against Lafayette (14). The Orange ended the half on a 13-4 run and took a 21-point cushion to halftime.
"We got after it the last couple days. We were really not playing around on defense," Legette-Jack said. "Defense is fun when you know your sister's got your back."
Fair had no problems picking up where she left off in the third quarter, knocking home her fifth three from behind the right wing to open the scoring. Latham and Kyra Wood took over in the paint, tallying 14 points off 7-for-7 shooting in the quarter. Kennedi Perkins also joined the action and provided a jolt off the Orange bench when she finished an and-1 through contact down low. SU went an exemplary 15-for-20 from the field in the third, ballooning its advantage to 27 with 10 minutes to play.
With the outcome in hand, Legette-Jack subbed out Fair with 7:37 in the fourth, who finished with 28 points on 10-for-17 shooting from the field and 5-for-9 from three. She also added three assists, two steals and a block.
Wood put the finishing touches on SU's 101-point outburst, sinking two from the free-throw line and then snatching her third steal as the buzzer sounded. The Orange held the Blue Devils without a point for the final three minutes en route to a 48-point drubbing.
Syracuse returns to the JMA Wireless Dome on Wednesday, Nov. 15 to take on Coppin State. Tipoff is at 7.