Syracuse basketball walks off with win over Wake Forest to start ACC play
SU hoops opens ACC play with win over Wake Forest
After trailing Wake Forest for most of the first three quarters, the Syracuse Orange basketball team walked off the court victorious, with their eighth straight win at home and their first conference game.
The 67-58 win achieved head coach Felisha Legette-Jack’s season goal of keeping opponents under 59 points. It also put a close to the Deacons’ five-game win streak.
The Deacon’s three-pointers were timely in the first half, going 3-9 in the first and 5-20 overall.
Syracuse guard Dyaisha Fair, ranked four in the ACC in points, swished a three-point shot with under 90 seconds until halftime to give the Orange their first lead of the game, 30-29.
Wake Forest guard Jewel Spear ranked five in the ACC in points, followed up by knocking down a 3-pointer to clench the Wake Forest lead going into halftime 32-30.
Despite this clutch 3-pointer from Spear, the Orange defenders kept her scoring limited to nine total points and two rebounds.
“Our players are learning that we got to lock in every single possession,” Legette-Jack said. “We went through way too much as a team for somebody to have a possession where their heart is bigger than ours.”
Fair almost doubled her first-half points in the second, totaling 25 points and 8-for-9 shooting at the foul line.
“[I] understood the assignment of the task and just did my part to help us succeed,” Fair said.
Both Fair and forward Asia Strong combined for 15 points in the last two and a half minutes of the game, propelling the Orange to victory. Each had their fair share of free throws, with Strong shooting a perfect 4-4.
Strong ended the game with her second double-double of the season with 10 points and 11 rebounds, seven of which were defensive.
“I’m just thinking the bigs are being aggressive, so I just want to match that energy [and] show them that we can do the same thing,” Strong said.
Legette-Jack was surprised about the team’s free throw abilities shown today, going 20-24 as a team.
“We’re really a good free throw shooting group of young ladies,” Legette-Jack said. “There’s nothing I need to do. They bring that to the table with them. It’s in their lunch box.”
Syracuse guard Cheyenne McEvans was awarded the hard hat from Legette-Jack for her timely efforts, tallying four rebounds in 13 minutes of play.
“My team really trusts me on defense and that’s what I’m here to do,” McEvans said.
Up next for the Orange is an ACC face-off against UAlbany (6-7) at the JMA Wireless Dome on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m.
“We’re still becoming and we’re still on our way,” Legette-Jack said.