Syracuse Comes Up Short in a Bid for a Top-Ten Win

Thursday, Feb 27, 2020 at 11:29 pm by Sports Editor

By Chris Sacchi

CitrusTV Women’s Basketball Beat Reporter

RALEIGH, N.C. — Syracuse traveled down to Raleigh, North Carolina with a chance for a resume-boosting win Thursday night. A victory over No. 8 North Carolina State (24-4, 13-4 Atlantic Coast) would be the team’s third top-ten triumph of the season, one game before the regular season comes to a close.

Instead, a severe lack of both rebounding and offensive punch sunk the Orange in 69-60 loss to fall to a record of 15-13 and 9-8 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. SU lost the rebound margin by a whopping 17 and were looking for a secondary scorer to supplement Kiara Lewis all night. Just like Sunday’s two point loss at Notre Dame, SU trailed the whole game. The team has lost two in a row after five straight wins.

Syracuse trailed 25-16 after the first, and that frame set the tone for the rest of the game. SU lost the rebound battle 13-5 and shot below 37% in the opening frame, despite Lewis’s nine points. These themes would continue throughout the night. Whenever the Orange made it a close game with a great stretch of play, NC State supported its loud home crowd inside Reynolds Coliseum with a strong run to pull away again.

SU cut it to a six point deficit at halftime, hanging around thanks to ten forced turnovers for NC State. The full-court pressure’s ability to force giveaways was a staple during the five-game win streak, but the other facets of the game have not been enough in these two straight losses.

A 7-0 run early in the third quarter, featuring a Lewis layup and an Emily Engstler layup and three pointer, brought the visitors to within just two points, 42-40, with just under seven minutes to go in the period. The Wolfpack then responded with a quick 5-0 run to reclaim a multiple possession lead.

With 3:19 to play in the third, freshman guard Teisha Hyman went down and clutched her right knee. It took her significant time to head to the SU locker room, with help from the medical staff. Hyman tore her left ACL during her sophomore season of high school, and while there is not yet an update on her status at this time, Head Coach Quentin Hillsman told Brian Higgins of ESPN Radio Syracuse after the game that he is simply hoping for the best. 

She’s in good spirits, but you just don’t know… it doesn’t look good when you go down like that.”

There is likely to be a better idea as to the condition of Hyman’s right knee when the team gets back to Syracuse. 

Taleah Washinton, a fellow freshman guard, came in to replace Hyman and hit a quick three pointer to bring Syracuse to within six points. Once again, however, the Wolfpack had an answer, rattling off a 7-0 run to end the third and increase the lead to a game-high 13 to begin the final frame. 

The fourth quarter was a slow, low scoring affair, which benefited an NC State team looking to end a three-game home losing skid as the clock ran down. After over six minutes of play in the frame, each team had just two points apiece. By that point the deficit was too big of a hole to dig out of, especially on the road.

Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi and her 10 points ended up being the only other player to score in double figures for Hillsman’s team. Digna Strautmane’s three points on 1-8 shooting, Gabby Cooper’s six points on 2-9 (after two straight games in double figures,) and Amaya Finkela’s four points on 2-7 all contributed to a less-than-stellar performance from a usually balanced offensive attack.

Once again, the lack of rebounding made things incredibly difficult for SU. A minus-17 margin on the glass, 46-29, made an already difficult comeback close to impossible.

On Sunday, Syracuse will host the final game in The Dome before it closes for renovations, hosting Boston College at 4:00. After that, Syracuse will forge ahead to the ACC tournament in Greensboro, North Carolina. SU currently sits at eighth out of 15 teams in the ACC and will look to finish the regular season strong before postseason play. | @SachChristopher