Mangakahia’s 27 Leads Syracuse Over Virginia Tech
By A.J. Fabbri
CitrusTV Women’s Basketball Reporter
Behind a Herculean second-half effort from junior point guard Tiana Mangakahia, No. 14 Syracuse (13-2, 2-0 Atlantic Coast) squeaked out a nail-biting 75-73 overtime over Virginia Tech (13-2, 0-2) on the road.
Mangakahia finished with a season-high 27 points, nine assists and six rebounds, with 23 points in the second half and overtime.
Coming off of a hard-fought nine-point victory on the road over Clemson, the Orange looked like they would make quick work of the Hokies in the first quarter.
Leading 18-12 with 1:30 left, SU’s Kiara Lewis drilled her first and only three-pointer of the game. On the ensuing Virginia Tech inbound, Mangakahia knocked the ball free from the opposing point guard. She found Gabrielle Cooper in the right corner, who netted the deep ball. Within 20 seconds, SU expanded the lead from six to 12 to end the quarter.
But the Hokies battled back. A 13-4 Virginia Tech run to start the second quarter cut the lead to three. Syracuse’s 2-3 zone looked vulnerable, as Taylor Emery, the ACC’s third-leading scorer, gashed SU for seven points during the run.
The Orange were held to just 8 points in the second frame, their second-lowest total in one quarter all season. At the half, SU was shooting just 21.4 percent from downtown. Mangakahia posted just four points and SU led just 32-29. And throughout the third quarter, SU struggled to widen the gap.
It seemed as though the Orange had the contest within hand with a 66-62 lead with 21.2 seconds on the clock and possession of the ball. But Mangakahia threw the ball away, and Regan Magarity hit her second three to make it 66-65 SU.
Kiara Lewis then hit one of two from the free throw line, and SU led 67-65 with just 14 seconds left. SU head coach Quentin Hillsman called a timeout to set his defense.
With Syracuse applying full-court pressure, Taylor received the inbounds pass and went Coast to Coast virtually unchecked, and laid the ball in the hoop to tie it at 67 with seven seconds on the clock. After Mangakahia’s game-winning attempt fell short, the contest headed into overtime.
Tied at 71 in the extra period, Mangakahia willed her team to victory.
Miranda Drummond missed a three pointer, but Mangakahia tracked down the long rebound and pulled up from ten feet.
The jumper clanked off the back iron, but the Australian followed her shot and ripped an offensive rebound out of the hands Virginia Tech’s 6-foot-3 Magarity, who stands a full nine inches taller than Mangakahia.
After pulling the ball out to set up an offensive set, Mangakahia nailed a sweet step back three to give SU a decisive 74-71 lead with 1:33 left in OT.
Syracuse would hold on to win 75-73 despite posting their second worst field goal percentage (37.7 percent) and three point field goal percentage (21.4 percent) of the season. Mangakahia knocked down 10 of her 12 free throw attempts en route to her season-high scoring mark of 27. With the victory, SU is now 2-0 in overtime and 2-0 in ACC play.
Next up, Syracuse will host its first ACC opponent as North Carolina will visit the Carrier Dome on Sunday, January 13th at 3 pm.
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