Orange Falter in Overtime Against Green Bay After Multiple Players Foul Out
By Toni Bianco
CitrusTV Women’s Basketball Beat Reporter
Victoria, B.C.- Green Bay’s Lyndsey Robson launched a Hail Mary shot from the midway point between half court and the three-point arc, and everyone in the gym watched as it sailed through the net to send the contest into overtime.
Syracuse (4-3, 0-0 Atlantic Coast) was handed its third loss in its last four games, falling 79-73 to Green Bay (5-3, 0-0 Horizon League) in an overtime battle for third place in the Greater Victoria Invitational. The loss wraps up the team’s international stint as the Orange head back to Central New York 1-2 on the week. Three games in three consecutive days proved to be too much for SU.
Green Bay went on an early 13-0 run after the Orange scored six straight to start the game. SU faced a four and a half minute scoring drought in the first quarter and a four-minute drought in the second. The Cuse’s shot an abysmal 2-12 from the field in the second quarter. Syracuse also faced foul trouble through the first 20 minutes; Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi had three points, and Kiara Lewis, Taleah Washington, and Digna Strautmane all had two.
One player dominated the first half- Green Bay’s Caitlyn Hibner. The starter scored 15 points in the first half to help the Phoenix go up by seven heading into the halftime break.
It was Syracuse who would go on a bit of a scoring run to start the second half and the Phoenix who faced their own three-minute offensive slump. Kiara Lewis had another strong performance, just shy of a double-double with 16 points and nine rebounds. After only one point in the first half, Lewis hit a layup, a jumper, and two three-pointers for 10 in the third quarter alone.
The final ten minutes of regulation looked like it would favor Syracuse. Green Bay’s backcourt offense was baffled by the SU press. The Orange were the only team to score in the first 5 minutes of action, going up by six. But then it would become a back-and-forth battle at the free-throw line.
During a five-minute scoring drought on both sides, Djaldi-Tabdi and Lewis committed their fifth personal fouls. The next basket wouldn’t come until a free throw from Amaya Finklea-Guity with 52 seconds left on the clock. Syracuse went up by two possessions on the make with a score of 55-50.
Emily Engstler recorded her fourth double-double of the season, earning her second of the tournament. She secured 12 points and a career-best 16 rebounds for the Orange. But her most significant rebound was her 15th of the night. After a deliberate miss from Anna Dier with ten seconds on the clock, Engstler ripped down the rebound and was immediately fouled. The sophomore sunk a pair of free throws to make it a two-possession game and put SU up 63-59.
A few more free throws were exchanged back and forth, and then Robson’s Hail Mary bucket sent the third-place battle into overtime. Syracuse had three players on the bench after Washington fouled out with 22 seconds left in regulation.
The Orange were out of legs and out of gas in the fifth period. Caitlyn Hibner proved to be the kryptonite for the Syracuse defense, as she would have every single one of Green Bay’s overtime points. SU just could not hang on, shooting 2-10 from the field and 0-7 from three.
Hibner’s final free throws with just eight seconds left made it a five-point game, and she’d put an exclamation point on it with three seconds remaining to go up to six.
The Orange return home disappointed, with just five days before they travel to Ann Arbor, Michigan, for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Thursday.
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