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Thursday, Mar 16, 2023 at 12:35 pm

All Out Dominance Propels Syracuse Over Kent State 84-56 in the W.N.I.T.

By Jesse Cook 

CitrusTV Women’s Basketball Beat Reporter


Postseason play started off on a high note for Syracuse women’s basketball, toppling Kent State 84-56 at home Wednesday night in the first round of the Women’s National Invitational Tournament.

Kent State played well in the first quarter, leading S.U. 16-13. The Golden Flashes hit 41.2% of their shots and turned the ball over twice. The Orange connected on just 27.8% of their field goals and committed three giveaways.

That changed quickly with S.U. taking each of the next three quarters by nine points or more, outscoring the road squad 71-40 the rest of the way. The Golden Flashes hit 40% of their shots and coughed up 17 turnovers while the Orange boosted to a 56.6% clip from the floor and just three more turnovers.

Kent State head coach Todd Starkey called his team’s play uncharacteristic, saying the Golden Flashes had an off-night. He said, “Not a lot of positives out of this game, you know. First quarter, I thought we played pretty well, great ball movement, we were playing through our shot.”

Syracuse won on the backs of guard Dyaisha Fair and forward Dariauna Lewis. Fair recorded 24 points, leading the Orange in scoring for the 22nd time this season. Lewis got the job done on both ends of the court with two blocks and eight defensive rebounds, as well as four more offensive boards and 17 points.

The South Bend-native now has 12 double-doubles on the year, and she said she felt like she was in the zone. Lewis said, “I was just locked in. I knew I couldn’t just settle for jump shots — obviously I took the jump shots that I thought I could make, but I knew I couldn’t settle for jump shots. They can’t grow, so it’s like, ‘Let’s do some post moves today.’”

Syracuse head coach Felisha Legette-Jack said she tells her team that they have the capability to go as far as they want in this tournament. She said, “I told this team, ‘You know I’ve been around this game for 34 years. You guys are special, you guys really are special. You’re really talented, you’re smart,’ and they bought into it. We just beat a good team. Kent State is fourth in that really good conference we just came from.”

S.U. has earned four-straight victories at home including the regular season, however the Cuse may have to wait for another opportunity to play in the J.M.A. Wireless Dome. The Orange await the Seton Hall vs. Saint Joseph’s game on Thursday night to find out when, where, and whom they will play in the Round of 32.

jacook@syr.edu |  @JesseCookTV