Syracuse Women’s Basketball Falls Short to N.C. State 56-54 in Back-and-Forth Thriller
By Jesse Cook
CitrusTV Women’s Basketball Beat Reporter
Calling the Syracuse Women’s Basketball Team’s 56-54 home loss to No. 6 N.C. State on Sunday night a “Tale of Two Halves” would be a misnomer, for the better description depicts the battle as a “Tale of Two Quarters,” specifically the third and fourth.
After halftime, the Wolfpack led the Orange 34-26, but the third quarter vastly changed the landscape of the game as S.U. topped its opponent 23-6 in that frame, leading 49-40 at its finish.
Two major collapses wiped out that stranglehold.
First, the Orange allowed 13 unanswered points to start the final quarter, scoring for the first time with just 1:57 remaining in regulation. By this point, the Cuse trailed 53-51.
Once the light at the end of the tunnel shined brighter, Georgia Woolley found herself at the free throw line with a chance to tie the game with just five seconds on the clock.
N.C. State’s 55-53 lead changed to 55-54 after the first free throw, but it remained unchanged after the second. Woolley’s second shot bounced off the back iron, and N.C. State guard Madison Hayes pounced on the rebound.
Within the following three seconds of gametime, Wolfpack guard Saniya Rivers earned a spot at the free throw line, copying Woolley by hitting her first attempt, but not her second. Once the ball caromed off the rim, Woolley fired a full court prayer, but it both landed far offline and left her hands too late after the final buzzer.
Despite the gloomy manner in which Woolley’s night ended, the Australia-native dropped an impressive stat line, leading the game in points with 23 and nailing four three-pointers, both of which stand as season highs for the sophomore.
After the game, the Buffalo-transfer said that a two-point loss to a top 10 team will bolster her squad’s confidence. She said, “We know we can play against any team. It showed everyone that we are right there and we will be right there this whole season.”
Syracuse Head Coach Felisha Legette-Jack echoed the guard’s thoughts by explaining that the game did not feel as morose as the scoreboard might make it seem. She said, “I don’t feel like we lost. We learned a lot, and they were some valuable lessons.”
Legette-Jack continued, “We’re on our way.”
Next up, Syracuse looks on its way to a potentially less daunting target as Pitt comes to town on Thursday night, Jan. 5. The Panthers sit in last place in the A.C.C. with a measly 7-7 record, and they’ll enter the 315 following back-to-back losses. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. from the J.M.A. Wireless Dome in Syracuse, N.Y.