Dyaisha Fair leads fourth-quarter comeback on Senior Day

Fair leads Orange comeback on Senior Day

The star guard passed Brittney Griner for fifth place in NCAA career points in a 63-53 win over Pitt.

Alternative Text
Jurnee Peltier
Syracuse players pose with head coach Felisha Legette-Jack celebrating Senior Night at Sunday’s game against Pitt in the JMA Wireless Dome.

It was Senior Day in the JMA Wireless Dome, and the Syracuse women’s basketball team looked to cap off their final guaranteed home game with a victory against the Pittsburgh Panthers. 

They did just that, thanks to a fourth-quarter comeback that got the Orange a 63-53 win.

Syracuse outscored the Panthers 22-4 in the final ten minutes, heavily propelled by graduate guard Dyashia Fair.

“When you tell somebody that you believe in them and you tell them that they are enough, they will soar,” coach Felisha Legette-Jack said about Fair has become such a vital piece to the program on and off the court. “She’s a living example of that.”

But a senior day victory wasn’t the only milestone Fair had on her bucket list for the day. 

Her lone layup in the second quarter put her at 3,285 career points, placing her solely in fifth place for most points in the history of NCAA Division I women’s basketball, passing Baylor’s Brittney Griner. 

Syracuse defeats Pitt 63-53 on Sunday, February 25, in the JMA Wireless Dome.
Jurnee Peltier
Syracuse and Pitt forwards fight for a rebound during the Orange win on Sunday.

After the game, Fair has 3,302 career points, now 91 behind Missouri State’s Jackie Stiles. 

Though the half was certainly highlighted by that moment, not much else was going according to plan for Legette-Jack’s squad. 

Syracuse struggled out the gates, with Fair and her guardmate, junior Georgia Woolley, combining for 2-14 from the field. The team as a whole went 8-of-30 in the first half. 

This was the second consecutive game where Fair had six first half points.

She finished with 22 points on Thursday in the loss to Duke, and made it 23 on Sunday, with 15 fourth quarter points. 

Pittsburgh had a strong showing from their star Liatu King, who scored 29 of the Panthers 53 points to go along with 10 rebounds. 

“She’s a talented player,” freshman guard Sophie Burrows said. “Having the help from Kyra (Wood) and Alyssa (Latham) in those plays, for when she made that extra move, that was really what we focused on.”

Once Syracuse eliminated the threat of King, the home team started looking better.

The free throw line was a friend of Syracuse all night. The Orange got 18 points, to Pitt’s 10. 

Dyaisha Fair (#2) keeps Pitt defense on their toes as she brings the ball down court at Sunday's game in the Dome.
Jurnee Peltier
Dyaisha Fair keeps Pitt defender on their toes as she brings the ball down court at Sunday’s game.

Syracuse also won the battle of resilience, as the Pittsburgh bench picked up a technical foul with 4:36 to go in the fourth quarter.  

This victory fit the mold of what this Syracuse team is, as fourth quarter comebacks are nothing out of the ordinary for them. 

“It means the world,” Fair, who became emotional during the ceremony, said about picking up a win in this fashion in front of friends and family. “I wouldn’t want to celebrate this day with a loss.”

As Fair said, moods were significantly higher after the victory, and the seniors were given their proper recognition. 

Guards Dominique Camp, Alaina Rice and Fair, and forwards Cheyenne McEvans and Izabel Varejão, were recognized for their time with the Syracuse basketball team.

The one thing that these seniors all have in common, is that they started their college hoops journey elsewhere. 

Camp played with Troy, Buffalo and Akron, all before coming to the hill. Both Fair and McEvans transferred from Buffalo. Rice went to both FAMU and Auburn. Varejao came to the 315 after two seasons at Michigan. 

This group may not have started together, but they’ve all bonded together under the leadership of their coach. 

“She was kind of the only one who believed in me,” Fair said of Legette-Jack. “Not only on the court but she believed in me as a person. You won’t get that anywhere.”

This winning culture and high energy team had a successful and historical senior day, but they have more work ahead. 

The team heads to Raleigh, North Carolina in what could be a top 15 showdown against No. 6 North Carolina State to conclude the regular season.