Miami Dominates Second Half to Defeat Syracuse in Coral Gables
By Chris Sacchi
CitrusTV Women’s Basketball Beat Reporter
It was a tale of two halves for the Orange in Coral Gables, Florida.
Syracuse and Miami kept it competitive through the first half, both putting up 17 points in the second quarter and only four points separating each team at halftime. Sunday afternoon’s game seemed destined for another close finish after SU had just played (and won) in two-straight overtime games entering this matchup.
Instead, the Hurricanes went on a 9-0 run in the first few minutes of the second half, thanks to three consecutive SU turnovers. This set the tone for Miami (10-6, 2-3 Atlantic Coast) to beat Syracuse (8-7, 2-2 Atlantic Coast) 77-62 at the Watsco Center. The Orange seemed sluggish in the latter two frames, allowing Miami to shoot 53% from the floor, coughing the ball up 13 times and making only two three-point shots.
Both teams employed full-court pressure and played with fast offensive pace in the first half, making fatigue a factor in the final two quarters. Not for the Hurricanes. They kicked their intensity up a gear or two, sparking that 9-0 run.
Fatigue did played a role in the Orange’s slow start to the second half, contributing to more turnovers and poor defense. With 9:23 left in the third quarter, Mykea Gray, who led Miami with 20 points, got to the foul line because Gabrielle Cooper was a step late trying to close out on defense. Gray blew past Cooper, who fouled her trying to recover while Gray was in the act of shooting.
The Hurricanes also sped up its offensive tempo to exploit the Orange’s 2-3 zone in the second half. Miami then got more fast break opportunities off live-ball turnover and long rebounds. The ‘Canes rumbled down the court with seven-straight fast break points during the scoring run after securing three-straight live ball takeaways from the Orange.
Plus, Miami shut down Syracuse from three-point land. The Orange ranked 24th in the country and third in the ACC with 8.6 threes per game entering Sunday’s contest. Instead, the Orange only made six threes on 19 attempts, which also prevented Coach Q’s team from working the offense outside-in and getting space. SU’s two low post players, Amaya Finklea and Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi, combined to go 0-8 from the field.
Overall, Syracuse allowed Miami to shoot 51.9 % from the field as opposed to 40% for SU. While a four-point game at the half pointed towards another close game for the Orange, the second half was all Miami as SU was unable to keep up with the supercharged effort and intensity from the home team.
Syracuse now looks to bounce back this Thursday against Georgia Tech, returning home to The Dome. The game begins at 7:30 p.m.
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