Syracuse Women’s Basketball 2023-24 Season Outlook: What to Expect, New Additions, and More.

Monday, Oct 30, 2023 at 12:18 pm by Sports Editor

By Carson Fowler | @CarsonFowlerTV

It’s officially college hoops season and only days separate fans from yet another year of Syracuse Women’s basketball here in the 315.

It didn’t take very long for Coach Jack to instill her culture of winning, passion, and hard work into this Syracuse Orange program. In her first season as head coach, the SU alum won 20 games, finished 9-9 in conference play, and earned an invitation to the 2023 Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT). She developed Buffalo transfer Dyaisha Fair into one of the top collegiate players in the nation and fielded a team that finished second in the ACC in offensive efficiency.

When the season ended, the hoops stopped but the work didn’t. This offseason Coach Jack utilized the NCAA’s new transfer portal rules to rebuild her team’s identity and address the weaknesses in her roster.

​​In April, the Orange picked up a commitment from Dominique Camp, a 5-foot-8 guard from Dayton, Ohio, who spent this past season at Akron after playing the 2021-22 season for Coach Jack at Buffalo. She scored more than 10 points per game and, even more impressively, recorded nearly two-and-a-half steals per game, which led to her MAC All-Defensive team selection in 2023. Coach Jack hopes that Camp will fill the void left by Teisha Hyman who hit the transfer portal this offseason.

Not long after, Syracuse secured commitments from graduate transfer Izabel Varejão, a 6-foot-4 center, who spent her past four years at Michigan, and freshman Maria-Eleni Triantafylli, a 6-foot-5 center from Athens, Greece, who played for the EFAOZ women’s basketball team in Greece’s first division of the ESVA league.

Something SU lacked a lot of last season – size. The Orange finished second-to-last in defensive efficiency and gave up the third most rebounds in conference play (37.9). These two add depth and lots of height at the forward/center positions, especially considering the departure of Dauriana “Stretch” Lewis.

Triantafylli was the third freshman to commit to the Orange to play in 2023. She joined the 2022 Illinois Max Preps Player of the Year Alyssa Latham and Australian NBL phenom Sophie Burrows. Both stand at 6-foot-2, Latham a walking double-double, 19.4 points and 10.2 rebounds per game her senior year. Burrows, a terrific on-ball defender and lights-out shooter, played two seasons in the NBL1, a semi-professional league in Australia, for the Diamond Valley Basketball Association. In 2022, she averaged 15.4 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 2.0 steals per game while shooting 40 percent from the field.

All these new additions, but this isn’t high school or NBL basketball. This is the ACC, and it’s among the best leagues in all of college basketball at the Division I level. Five teams from the conference present in the preseason AP Top-25: No. 8 Virginia Tech, No. 10 Notre Dame, No. 16 North Carolina, No. 17 Louisville, and No. 18 Florida State (NC State and Miami receiving votes).

Syracuse plays Notre Dame twice (12/3, 1/25), Louisville twice (2/1, 2/11), at North Carolina (1/4), vs. Florida State (1/18), and vs. Virginia Tech (1/28). Not to mention the Orange play one of the more challenging non-conference schedules in all of college hoops, a road game at No. 14 Maryland, a home exhibition for the ACC/SEC challenge vs. Alabama, and a trip to Las Vegas, NV, for the South Point Thanksgiving Shootout.

All that being said, what are the expectations for this Orange team in 2023-2024? A vote by the conference’s Blue Ribbon Panel (61 voters) at ACC tip-off in Charlotte, NC, projected Syracuse to finish 9th in the ACC this season. Understandable considering the squad lost three of its five starters: Dauriana Lewis, Asia Strong, and Teisha Hyman. Also, Syracuse’s third, fourth, and fifth scoring options.

However, Coach Jack brings back her senior leader and point-guard Dyaisha Fair (19.9 PPG), second-leading scorer Georgia Woolley (12.8 PPG), forward Kyra Wood, and combo-guard Alaina Rice. Expectations are high for Wood in 2023. The six-foot-three junior, named a captain earlier this year, showed lots of promise during her sophomore campaign – in the month of January: 25 MIN, 5 PTS, 5 REB, 57.1 FG%. All above her season averages.

In year two of the Felisha Leggette-Jack era it’s obvious this team is hungry for what it fell just short of last season. An at-large bid to the Big Dance, and a trip to March Madness. At the University of Buffalo, Coach Jack earned her way to the NCAA tournament four times in 10 seasons as head coach, including a run to the Sweet Sixteen in 2018.

The Orange, right now, on the outside looking in, are listed as the “First Team Out” in ESPN’s Charlie Creme’s most recent bracketology.

Syracuse women’s basketball hasn’t heard its name called on Selection Sunday since 2021. Now, in 2023, SU has all the pieces to make its case to go dancing in 2024 – a good mix of veteran leadership, young talent, and depth in every position.