Dyaisha Fair cracks 3k points as she leads SU to win

Dyaisha Fair cracks 3k points as she leads SU to win

Fair willed Syracuse to a 83-82 comeback win while becoming the 26th D1 player to reach 3,000 career points.

Dyaisha Fair (#2) embraces Coach Felisha Legette-Jack after the Orange win on Saturday against Clemson.
Theoplis Stewart II
Dyaisha Fair embraces Coach Felisha Legette-Jack after the Orange win against Clemson at the JMA Dome on Saturday, 13 January.

Fans came to the JMA Wireless Dome on Sunday afternoon expecting to see fifth-year guard Dyaisha Fair reach the 3,000-point milestone and the Orange collect a win against the struggling Tigers.

With SU down 19 early in the second half and its star player stuck on two points, neither outcome looked very likely.

But then, Dyaisha Fair happened.

The star guard willed Syracuse women’s basketball to a dramatic 83-82 comeback win over Clemson while becoming the 26th Division I college basketball player to reach 3,000 career points.

“The one thing that I can say is that this is unbelievable,” Fair said. “I’ve been told just recently that I need to start to celebrate myself and that’s what I’m gonna do.”

After trailing by double-digits for most of the afternoon, Fair hit a pair of threes that helped bring SU to within 66-58 with just under eight minutes left in the game.

For the first time, the Orange sustained something positive and Fair began to take over. She hit another 3-pointer to make it 72-66 and put her on 2,999 career points.

On SU’s next possession, Fair got fouled on a 3-point attempt and coolly drained the first foul shot to reach 3,000 and send the Dome into raptures.

And then there was the matter of winning the game.

The Orange took its first lead of the game when Fair (who else?) hit a jumper to make it 74-72 with 3:34 left to cap a 14-0 run.

A 3-point play from junior forward Kyra Wood extended SU’s lead to 79-75 with 1:53 left. But the Tigers didn’t go away, with Amari Robinson nailing a clutch basket to put Clemson up with 30 seconds left.

On SU’s final possession, there was little doubt that Fair would have the ball in her hands, but instead of taking the final shot, Fair made a key pass to freshman forward Alyssa Latham, who converted a layup to put the Orange up one with seven seconds left.

Though SU had its struggles containing the Tigers in the paint, the Orange got the defensive stop it needed to secure the win.

The win took on added significance for the team and the head coach because Sunday was Alzheimer’s Awareness Day, a cause close to Syracuse head coach Felisha Legette-Jack’s heart.

Syracuse's Alaina Rice (#25) takes a shot during the game against Clemson at the JMA Dome on Saturday, 13 January.
Syracuse’s Alaina Rice takes a shot during the game against Clemson at the JMA Dome on Saturday.

“I just had to do whatever was needed for the team and, more importantly, for coach Jack,” Fair said. “Because of the day. We always say, ‘let’s win the day,’ in practice.”

Fair came into Sunday afternoon with 2,986 career points, but it looked like Syracuse’s star guard was on pace for an uncharacteristically quiet afternoon. Fair was a non-factor in the first half with just two points on a 1-for-6 shooting effort.

A made 3-pointer helped Fair come alive at the end of the third quarter. She had 14 points in the final quarter to give her 21 for the game.

Fair joined Iowa’s Caitlin Clark as the only active players to reach that milestone and is the first player in Syracuse history to reach the landmark.

The fifth-year guard spent her first three seasons playing for Legette-Jack at Buffalo, where she racked up 2,035 career points. After Sunday’s game, she sits at 972 points in her SU career and is on pace to become the fastest player to reach 1,000 points in program history.

“(Fair) came to me as a young lady that just ran up and down the floor,” Legette-Jack said. “Now she’s evolved into an amazing woman who understands the assignment of giving your best effort, and whatever that is becomes who you are.”

Syracuse shot 41% from the floor and 32% from three in the win. The Orange allowed Clemson to shoot 52% from the field and rack up 44 points in the paint but still found a way to win.

Alaina Rice (16 points), Georgia Woolley and Alyssa Latham (14 each) were the other SU players in double-figures.

Clemson jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead less than a minute into the game and kept pushing the tempo to extend it to 16-3 less than three minutes in as the Orange could not buy a defensive stop in the early going.

The Tigers shot 65% in the first 10 minutes to lead 29-19.

Clemson took a 45-34 lead into the break and scored the first eight points of the second half to build a 53-34 advantage.

Amari Robinson had a game-high 35 points on 13-of-18 shooting for the Tigers.

Syracuse is now 10-0 at home this season.

SU has won three consecutive games after a heavy defeat at North Carolina. The Orange could find itself back in the top 25 when it hosts Florida State on Thursday night.