SU hoops snaps season’s longest losing streak

SU hoops snaps season's longest losing streak

Dyaisha Fair tacks on career-high 36 points en route to resilient 90-72 win over Virginia.
Published: January 26, 2023 | Updated: January 30th, 2023 at 2:00 pm
Syracuse's Dyaisha Fair (2) looks for a way to the basket through Albany's heavy defense during a women's basketball game on Tuesday, December 20, 2022, at JMA Wireless Dome.
Syracuse's Dyaisha Fair (2) looks for a way to the basket through Albany's heavy defense during a women's basketball game on Dec. 20, 2022, at the JMA Wireless Dome.

As Syracuse women’s basketball entered the JMA Wireless Dome on a cold, snowy Thursday in Upstate New York, they were facing their biggest challenge of Felisha Legette-Jack’s freshman campaign as head coach of the squad.

The challenge was not their opponent, the Virginia Cavaliers who going into tonight were losers of six of their last eight contests, but started the season on an impressive 12 game winning streak, it was SU’s three game losing streak, the largest of the season. 

It was in the team’s hands how they were going to respond to this adversity, and they came out with an effort that displayed their resilience, leading to a comfortable 90-72 victory.  

While out of the gate, the Orange started off slow with sloppy turnovers and missed opportunities, the Cavaliers created a narrow lead. But, as the first quarter went on SU started to get into an offensive rhythm, leading to a 19-14 lead and a Virginia timeout.

Less than 25 seconds after their timeout, UVA came back with a three, only to be matched by a 3-point shot by guard Dyaisha Fair, who was remarkable tonight, finishing the night with a dazzling 36 points and five assists including a whopping eight threes, tying a Syracuse record.

Fair’s strong performance led to her receiving a loud round of applause from the fans when she was subbed out with 1:09 left in the game. Fellow senior guard Alaina Rice also pitched in an efficient career-high 18 points.  

Going into halftime, the Orange maintained a narrow lead of 41-39. But, Virginia guard Sam Brunelle got an And-1 early in the second half. The next possession, Syracuse guard Georgia Woolley turned it over, leading to a numbers advantage for UVA in transition.

However, the team got back on defense and stopped the Cavaliers from scoring and after some physical offensive rebounding by Woolley, she found Fair for her fifth three of the night.

This was the theme to Syracuse’s victory tonight, mental and physical toughness. Whenever there was an iota of adversity, the team responded by playing team basketball, finding the open person and doing what needed to be done to end the losing streak.

While Virginia’s defensive effort to contain the Syracuse offense in the fourth quarter was admirable, they could not contain Fair, who scored 17 points in the fourth. Fair’s contribution helped the Orange catapult their lead up to 18 when the game clock struck zero, their largest victory in three weeks.    

Legette-Jack said her team’s effort was resilient.

“This is a big university,” Legette-Jack said. 

“Here, I mean, everything you do is sensationalized,” she later said. “What we have to understand is we got to keep the noise out of the locker room. We have to keep the noise out.”

The team will look to build off Fair’s historic night and a gritty effort in their next matchup on Sunday at home against a Louisville team that has lost their last two contests, but beat Syracuse earlier in the year at their stomping grounds.