No. 13 Syracuse Downs Duke in Durham
By A.J. Fabbri
Women’s Basketball Reporter
Trailing by five at halftime and staring down a third-straight conference loss, the Syracuse offense finally began connecting. Outscoring Duke (9-10, 1-6 Atlantic Coast) 31-13 in the third quarter, the Orange (16-4, 5-2) fought their way to a 64-55 victory in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Kiara Lewis went five for nine from downtown en route to a new career-high 20 points, topping her previous high of 18 set just last week against Miami.
The Blue Devils scored the first five points of the pivotal third frame, stretching their lead to 41-31 with 7:53 left. But Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi completed a three-point play at free throw line that sparked a 15-1 run over the next four minutes to give SU a 40-32 lead, which Orange would maintain for the final quarter.
Djaldi-Tabdi and Lewis were instrumental in the run. After Gabrielle Cooper missed a three, Djaldi-Tabdi tracked down the long offensive rebound that led to a Lewis deep ball. On the next possession, Djaldi-Tabdi banked home a turnaround jumper. Lewis was fouled while she drilled a corner three on the next possession. She completed the four-point play to give SU its first lead since the middle of the second quarter.
The Syracuse press forced Duke to throw away the very next inbounds pass. Lewis snuck behind the Blue Devil defense and knocked down her third triple in four possessions to give the Orange a 36-31 lead.
Miranda Drummond, who did not play in SU’s loss to Miami, was saddled on the bench with foul trouble for most of the second half. With Duke pressing hard on the comeback trail, Drummond drove baseline and laid the ball in the hoop to push the Orange lead back to 55-48 with three minutes left.
SU held off any other threats as Tiana Mangakahia netted seven points in the game’s final 90 seconds to ensure the Orange victory. She finished with 13 points and seven assists.
The much needed win bucked a two game losing streak for the Orange, who earned their first victory in Cameron Indoor since joining the ACC.
The SU bench contributed 31 points as SU scored 25 points off of 19 Duke turnovers.
The three point shooting returned to form, as SU finished 10 of 25 from deep. The Orange shot 37.3 percent from the floor. Syracuse assisted on 17 of their 22 made field goals.
Syracuse returns to the Carrier Dome on Thursday to host Virginia (8-11, 2-4) at 7 pm.