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Syracuse women’s basketball visits Coral Gables for clash with Miami Thursday

The Syracuse women’s basketball listens to head coach Felisha Legette-Jack during a timeout.
The Syracuse women’s basketball listens to head coach Felisha Legette-Jack during a timeout.

Following No. 19 Syracuse women’s basketball’s (20-4, 10-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) 73-72 victory over No. 18 Louisville, (20-5, 9-3 ACC), SU travels to Miami (16-7, 6-6 ACC) for the first of a two game road trip.

The Orange got back one of their key players last Thursday. Syracuse center Izabel Varejão made her return against Georgia Tech (14-11, 5-8 ACC) after missing two months with an undisclosed injury. In that game, the North Carolina native saw 20 minutes on the floor for just the fourth time this year and tied her season-high 13 points.

When asked how she adjusted to being back on the court, Varejão praised SU head coach Felisha Legette-Jack and the rest of the team, stating "when I was returning, coach Jack just told me to go out there and be myself, there’s no pressure. I think because I didn’t have any pressure and had people behind me pushing me to be my best, I think that’s why I succeeded.”
Syracuse center Izabel Varejão (34, pink) celebrates with teammates during her return against Georgia Tech.

Elsewhere on the team, Syracuse guard Dyaisha Fair continues to shine. Fair sits third in the conference in points per game with 22 a contest. In Sunday’s rematch against Louisville, the graduate student poured in 29 points and made two free throws late in regulation to propel SU to victory. Against Georgia Tech, the Rochester native led the way with 17 points. Both outings earned her Naismith Women’s College Player of the Week and ESPN Player of the Week.

“I’m so proud that she’s on my team” coach Felisha Legette-Jack stated when asked about Dyaisha’s success possibly going unnoticed. “If nobody else knows what she's doing or how gifted she is, God sees it, and I see it.”

Behind Fair, the Orange have dominated all season. Syracuse has won nine of its last 11 games and sit tied with No. 12 Virginia Tech (20-4, 11-2 ACC) for first in the conference. SU is fifth in the ACC in scoring with 76.3 points a game.

On the opposite side, the Hurricanes have breezed through their conference slate as of late, winning five of their last seven games. Among those wins was a 73-59 statement victory over No. 6 NC State. In that game, the trio of guards Shayeann Day-Wilson, Jasmyne Roberts, and Lashae Dwyer all knotted 18 points. However, that ranked win is only one of two in seven top 25 games for Miami this season. The Hurricanes have fallen to ranked opponents by an average of 13 points a game. Miami lost to No. 12 Virginia Tech, No. 16 Notre Dame and North Carolina (who was No. 20 earlier this year) all in just 12 days.

“Not a lot of people are going to come here and get a win, but people are going to play better than Miami did tonight,” Hurricanes head coach Katie Meier said last month following the loss to the Hokies. “We were too busy communicating with the referees and not our teammates … I'm disappointed in our maturity level.”

Syracuse beat Miami 77-68 on senior night back in February of last year. SU guard Dyaisha Fair led the team in scoring 14 points, while guards Georgia Woolley, Kennedi Perkins and Alaina Rice and forward Asia Strong also recorded double figures. Heading into that game the Orange won just three of their last ten.

Syracuse and Miami battle it out Thursday at 6 p.m. WAER has all the coverage starting with McClurg Remodeling Countdown to Tipoff at 5:30 p.m.