Despite poor outside shooting, Cuse women’s basketball conquers Le Moyne in exhibition matchup
Despite poor outside shooting, Syracuse basketball conquers Le Moyne
The Dolphins are a Division II team that competes in the Northeast-10 conference, so a victory was expected from the Division I Orange.
After previously serving as the head coach at the University of Buffalo, Coach Legette-Jack joined the Orange in the offseason and brought with her four players from Buffalo through the transfer portal. One of those players, guard Dyaisha Fair, led the Orange in the exhibition matchup tallying 19 points and eight assists.
“Being a few years into the system, it just helps me lead by example,” Fair said.
Entering the year, the newly-formed backcourt of guards Fair and Teisha Hyman was billed as the driving force behind the team’s success. Hyman was forced to carry the Orange last year as a do-everything guard, but Fair’s on-ball abilities as both a scorer and distributor will allow Hyman to focus on simply putting the ball in the basket.
“Once we found our rhythm, everyone got their nervousness out in the first quarter,” Fair said of her dynamic with Hyman. “Things started to open up for us and we just did what we do best. We know that we’re capable of playing off of each other, feeding off of each other.”
“I think Teisha understands the assignment,” Coach Legette-Jack said. “She’s been here. She’s the one that understands it the most and was the voice in the locker room after the game. She’s the one that’s going to pull us towards the success that we’re going to have. She’s the X-Factor.”
Hyman started the scoring early for Syracuse, carving up the Dolphins’ 2-3 zone with an array of moves. Although the Orange dominated the glass by bringing down 19 offensive rebounds in the first half, they weren’t able to capitalize on extra opportunities. As a result, Le Moyne was able to stick in the contest.
After a close first half, the third quarter featured a huge momentum swing late when a Le Moyne miss turned into a transition and-1 for Fair. The JMA Wireless Dome was electrified, bringing Fair’s teammates to their feet.
Coach Legette-Jack said the key to a successful third quarter is just a three letter word.
“Fun!” she said. “We’re so tight, and we want it so badly for each other. The goal is to have fun, and that third quarter was a lot of fun to watch.”
After Le Moyne cut the lead to just three points, Fair knocked down back-to-back threes to keep the Dolphins at bay. Though Syracuse’s advantage was eventually stretched to double digits, Le Moyne quietly snuck back in the final minute. A late miss allowed another three to fall, leaving the Orange up only 73-70 with 10 seconds remaining.
However, to the puzzlement of just about everyone in the arena, Le Moyne opted not to intentionally foul and just let Syracuse dribble out the clock for the victory.
Coach Legette-Jack wasn’t surprised, though.
“The game was over,” she said. “They were trying to foul us, but they didn’t know what to do. They were able to get close, but weren’t able to. I wanted everybody to have fun, and they really competed to try to win that game.”
The biggest need for improvement for Syracuse after an exhibition opener is shooting from the charity stripe. The Orange only nailed six of their attempted 17 free throws, a putrid percentage.
“Championships are won on out-of-bounds plays, free throws, and jump balls,” Coach Legette-Jack said. “We’re getting to the line, but we didn’t get to the line enough.”
Next up for the Orange is their first regular season game of the year. They tip-off against Stony Brook on Monday at 3:30 p.m. at the JMA Wireless Dome.
Stony Brook is set to be a mightier opponent than Le Moyne, and Coach Legette-Jack is aware and preparing her team for it.
“Stony Brook is lightyears better than what we just faced,” she said. “All we’ve got is a couple days to get prepared for our next opponent, and we will be prepared.”