Get the latest Syracuse news delivered right to your inbox.
Subscribe to our sports newsletter here.
Syracuse held Duke to a 3-point deficit in the third quarter, and even held a one-point lead after the opening frame. The Orange did everything they could against a Blue Devils side that, on paper, physically outmatched them. SU won the rebounding battle 47-35 and gathered a season-high 25 offensive boards, but it was otherwise inconsistent from the field.
Syracuse had 19 more field goal attempts than Duke and held Elizabeth Balogun — Duke’s third-leading scorer — scoreless from the field, but SU fell victim to foul trouble, conceding 21 personal fouls, and couldn’t overcome multiple double-digit deficits.
Syracuse showed that it could contain another tough, ranked Atlantic Coast Conference opponent, but it still could not manage to escape its recent slump, as its losing streak was extended to three games.
Here are some observations from Syracuse’s (8-7, 1-4 ACC) 74-65 loss to No. 17 Duke (11-2, 2-1):
Syracuse is a 3-point shooting team again, sort of
Throughout the month of December, where Syracuse won five of six games, it averaged a 32.1% success rate from beyond the arc. In all but one of those wins, the Orange made over a third of their 3s, most notably making a season-high 13 3-pointers on 28 attempts against Clemson for their first and only ACC win of the year.
But entering Sunday’s game, SU has only managed 12 3s during its recent two-game conference losing streak. Chrislyn Carr shot less than 30% from deep against North Carolina and Boston College for just the second and third times this season. Najé Murray went 0-for-5 against the Eagles in her return to the lineup, and Christianna Carr hadn’t made more than one 3 in her past three games.
After shooting 2-for-11 in the first half, Syracuse went 2-for-2 from beyond the arc in the opening six minutes of the third quarter. Teisha Hyman hit a 3-pointer from the right side of the arc on the Orange’s first possession of the quarter, then Christianna scored one from the opposite wing five minutes later in the midst of a personal 5-0 run.
Syracuse competes in the paint against a much taller Duke
Syracuse faced its tallest opponent of the season in Duke, with nine Blue Devils players standing at 5-foot-11 or taller, compared to the Orange’s four. Duke entered the game ranked 28th in the country in 2-point percentage at 51.5%, per Her Hoop Stats, while SU was outrebounded by a margin of over 15 in each of its last two conference games — including 63-37 by North Carolina on the boards.
On Sunday, Syracuse managed Duke on the glass, especially on offense. At halftime, Syracuse had already managed 12 offensive rebounds, more than it had recorded in its six previous games. Led by Alaina Rice, who had six of them, the Orange generated eight more field goals than the Blue Devils did, which periodically kept SU within contention, before an 8-0 second half Duke run.
Rice recorded back-to-back offensive rebounds early in the second quarter, with her second one saving Syracuse from its third shot clock violation of the game. Then, roughly two minutes later, with the Orange 0-for-6 to start the quarter, Hyman secured Syracuse’s second offensive board of the possession, bringing down a missed Alaysia Styles 3-pointer. Hyman hauled the ball down, stepped back, crossed over and took it to the bucket to bank in a layup.
Celeste Taylor, who entered the game as Duke’s rebounding leader, left the game with a shoulder injury after a collision with Rice at center court midway through the second quarter. But Duke was still able to find secondary rebounding with its height-driven, deep team.
Teisha Hyman keeps things close
Syracuse was on an 11-2 run through a good portion of the third quarter, and Hyman went on a personal 6-0 run, shooting a perfect 4-4 from the line, and scoring 11 points in the quarter. It was the second game where Hyman erupted for a second-half scoring spree. Against Boston College, Hyman scored just one point in the first half but finished the game with 17, scoring seven second-half field goals.
During that stretch, Hyman was at the forefront of Syracuse’s 5-out motion offense. She hit a floating jump shot midway through the third quarter after charging into the paint from the right wing to pull the Orange within five points.
But with less than two minutes remaining in the game, Syracuse trailed by eight, and with Hyman in good rhythm after eclipsing 20 points, she received the ball off the fastbreak at the top of the arc — where she was set up for an open 3. Instead, she opted to play a bounce pass to feed an onrushing Chrislyn that went out of bounds. Hyman scored a 2 on the next possession, but it was a bucket too late for a trailing SU team.
Foul trouble hurts an already limited Orange
“I never let players get three fouls,” acting head coach Vonn Read said following Syracuse’s loss at UNC. “They get two and they sit.” But as three starters reached his two-foul limit in the first half, Read wasn’t able to institute his consequences the way he normally would. Syracuse’s bench was already limited to just four available players, and Read kept his starters in during the early stages of the game as the Orange kept Duke within 10 points.
At halftime, Styles had already accumulated three personal fouls, and Rice and Murray each had two, which Murray reached before the five-minute mark of the opening quarter. Still, Read brought in just two players off his bench through the first three quarters of the game — even keeping Styles on the court after her fourth foul in the final frame, with Syracuse down by 15 points.
The post Observations from Syracuse’s 9-point loss to No. 17 Duke appeared first on The Daily Orange.