No. 13 Syracuse Goes Ice Cold in Home Loss to Miami
By A.J. Fabbri
CitrusTV Women’s Basketball Reporter
Tiana Mangakahia drove down the lane and kicked to a wide open Digna Strautmane. The sophomore drilled the corner three, breathing life into the Carrier Dome. Her trifecta trimmed Miami’s lead to 70-67 with 3:20 left in the game, the closest SU had been since the game was tied in the second quarter.
The shot was the last field goal the No. 13 Syracuse (15-4, 4-2 Atlantic Coast) would make for the remainder of the contest, as the Miami (17-4, 5-1 Atlantic Coast) smothered SU the rest of the way. The 84-71 loss was the Orange’s second-straight defeat and their first home loss of the season.
“We just couldn’t knock down our shots down the stretch,” SU leading-scorer Kiara Lewis said.
After the Orange cut it to just three, Miami turned to its top option, Beatrice Mompremier. The 6-foot-4 transfer from Baylor, caught an entry pass on the right block, pivoted towards the paint and in one dribble curled to the other side of the hoop as she sunk in an uncontested layup. The bucket pushed the Hurricane lead to two possessions, and the Orange failed to answer.
The Orange missed its final six shots of the contest, a concerning two-game trend that has been the main culprit in Syracuse’s last two losses. SU took a lofty 77 shots, connecting on just 28 of them. Shooting from distance was even uglier, as SU finished 5-32 from deep. The 15.6% three point shooting percentage is SU’s worst of the season. In their loss against Georgia Tech, Syracuse shot just 8-42 from three.
“It’s my responsibility as head coach of this team to figure it out. And to help them get easier shots and to play better,” SU head coach Quentin Hillsman said.
Syracuse missed the presence of Miranda Drummond, its second-leading scorer, as she missed the game due to a calf injury she suffered in practice on Tuesday.
And as the shooting suffered, so did the defense. The Hurricanes came into the contest with the third-best field goal percentage in the ACC, and they proved it early on. Miami scored on its first five possessions, dominating on the interior, and hit seven of its first eight shots.
Along with Mompremier, Emese Hof dominated inside the Orange zone. The 6-foot-3 Netherlands product was unmatched down low, tallying 21 points to lead all scorers. The junior forward finished 11 for 11 from the free throw line.
Working through their bigs, Miami created better shots for their guards, knocking down 49 percent from the field, finishing a scorching nine of 15 from three. The Hurricanes also went 25 of 29 from the charity stripe.
“When you’re in foul trouble like we were, it’s difficult to play our aggressive style of defense,” Hillsman explained.
The Orange actually led 25-22 after the first quarter, but a 12-4 run by the Hurricanes to close the half had SU playing catch up for the rest of the game.
“We gotta make some shots. We’re not shooting the ball well. We gotta get it fixed,” Hillsman said.
Syracuse flies down to North Carolina this weekend to take on Duke on Sunday, January 27th at 1 p.m.