Syracuse Avenges Loss to Miami with Win in ACC Tournament Quarterfinals
By A.J. Fabbri
CitrusTV Women’s Basketball Reporter
GREENSBORO, N.C.– Back on January 23rd, the unranked Miami Hurricanes beat No. 13 Syracuse by 13 in the Carrier Dome. Orange head coach Quentin Hillsman took responsibility for the loss.
“It’s my responsibility as head coach of this team to figure it out,” he said after the game. “And to help them get easier shots and to play better.”
This time, Coach Hillsman did his job as Syracuse set an ACC tournament single game record with 14 made threes while five of his players ended in double digits in fifth seeded SU’s win over the fourth seeded ‘Canes in Greensboro, 92-85.
Tiana Mangakahia tallied 25 points, 13 assists and six rebounds in the win. Miranda Drummond finished 4-7 from distance for 19 points. Digna Strautmane and Gabby Cooper dropped 15 each, combining to go 8-15 from three, while Kiara Lewis scored 10 points.
After a close first quarter, the Orange took control of the game and outscored the Hurricanes 31-16 in the second quarter thanks to its three-point shooting and ball-hawking defense. Kiara Lewis scored the first eight points in the quarter for Syracuse, while SU embarked on a 20-7 run to finish the half marked by four Orange three-pointers and five Miami turnovers.
The Orange led 50-37 at halftime. Half of SU’s 18 first half field goals were from long distance, where they shot 47 percent, while Miami was only 1-9 from three-point range.
Miami slowed down the pace to get back into the game in the third quarter, eventually leading to a 22-6 run to take a one-point lead in the fourth quarter. But the Orange answered back quickly.
Drummond, who sat out the regular season contest between the two teams, swished a deep ball to immediately reclaim a two point lead. Mangakahia floated in a runner in the lane, and Drummond hit another deep ball to put SU back up 75-71 with 6:46 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Then SU’s Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi worked for two offensive rebounds and muscled her way to an and-one layup to put the Orange up five. Mangakahia and Drummond would score afterwards to put the Orange up nine with 3:30 left in regulation.
A Taylor Mason three cut the lead to six, but Cooper countered with one of her five threes of the game. The shot stretched the lead back to nine with a minute left, forcing Miami to foul the rest of the way. But the Orange held true on their free throws, securing the victory.
Not only does the win keep SU in the hunt for an ACC Tournament Championship, but it also bolsters their resume for the NCAA Tournament. After the selection committee placed them in the top 16 seeds last week, the win on Friday almost ensures that the Orange will be hosting the first weekend inside the Carrier Dome.
Syracuse will take on the ACC regular season co-champion Notre Dame on Saturday at noon in the conference semifinal. The Irish dominated the Orange by 30 points inside the Carrier Dome on February 25th.
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