Syracuse Finishes Regular Season with a Win over BC
By A.J. Fabbri
CitrusTV Women’s Basketball Beat Reporter
The Eagles didn’t make it easy on the Orange in their rematch in Chestnut Hill. About three weeks ago, Syracuse pummeled Boston College by 27 in the Carrier Dome. BC kept it closer in Conte Forum, but the Orange were too much down the stretch.
The Eagles (14-15, 3-13 Atlantic Coast) were stingy defensively for 35 minutes, but No. 17 Syracuse (22-7, 11-5 ACC) prevailed 76-59 in its regular season finale.
After surrendering 12 triples in the last meeting, Boston College slowed the pace and disrupted the Orange offensive attack.
SU opened up the game just 2 of 9 from the field through the first five minutes. The Orange coughed the ball up five times in that stretch as BC held a four-point lead.
Momentum was surging in the Eagles favor until the final seconds of the opening frame.
Tiana Mangakahia was held scoreless until she knocked down two free throws with 6.5 seconds left in the quarter. After nailing those two, Isis Young stole the ball from a scrambling Marnelle Garraud. She flipped the ball to a wide open Mangakahia, who banked a 30 footer to tie it at 15 as the buzzer sounded.
The triple was her 1,001st point of her SU career. Mangakahia is now the fastest player in program history to reach that mark, doing so in just 60 games played in an Orange uniform.
The mini-run from Mangakahia seemed to settle down the Orange offense.
BC took a 19-15 lead on back-to-back layups from Emma Guy. But, Digna Strautmane and Miranda Drummond drilled consecutive triples to retake a lead the Orange would not relinquish the lead for the remainder of the game.
Mangakahia continued to apply pressure to the BC defense in the second half. On back-to-back possessions, she drove the lane and fed Amaya Finklea, the Gloucester, Massachusetts native, for two easy buckets to give the Orange a 53-44 lead with 44 seconds to go in the quarter. It was the largest lead by either team at the time.
SU was in control for most of the final quarter. The Eagles had some life did have some life Taylor Ortlepp found her stroke twice from downtown to cut the Orange lead to just 10 with three minutes to go. But Strautmane buried a dagger three-pointer to squash any comeback attempt.
Mangakahia scored 20 of her 27 points in the second half. She finished 8 of 23 from the field with eight assists and seven rebounds. She was also a perfect 8-8 from the free throw line.
Strautmane tallied 16 points on 4 of 5 from deep. She also added nine boards. Finklea was perfect from the field in her homecoming performance, going 4 of 4 with eight points.
The Orange have finished with at least 10 ACC wins each year they have been in the conference.
With the regular season complete, SU is now locked in as the fifth seed in the conference. They earn a single game bye and will take on either 12th seeded Virginia or 13th seeded Boston College on Thursday, March 7th down in Greensboro, North Carolina.
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