Women’s basketball making case for NCAA tourney bid with win streak

Women’s basketball's win streak helping NCAA tourney bid

The 59-46 home win over Clemson makes five straight for Syracuse.
Published: February 20, 2020
SU Orange Women's Basketball defeat Clemson Tigers
Redshirt junior Kiara Lewis, who led the game with 17 points, maneuvers towards the basket during Thursday game against Clemson.

Syracuse Women’s Basketball’s late-season surge continued Thursday night with a 59-46 home victory over Clemson that should boost consideration for another NCAA tournament appearance this year.

The fifth-straight win for the Orange had an up-and-down rhythm with SU dominating the first and third quarters while the Tigers won or tied the low-scoring second and fourth quarters.

Syracuse took off to a 10-point lead within the first three minutes as Clemson struggled to get past SU’s defense. Multiple SU players scored in the first quarter with redshirt junior guard Kiara Lewis leading the way with eight points.

In the second quarter, Clemson came out aggressively. With Syracuse struggling to find the basket, the Tigers were able to rotate players and close the distance with nine points coming off the bench. SU didn’t score until 2:49 minutes left, with a layup from Amaya Finklea-Guity. By halftime, Clemson whittled Syracuse’s lead to 28-22.

While SU scored first after halftime, it took Clemson less than three minutes to get on top for the first time in the game. Both teams were head-to-head for a few minutes until a three-pointer from SU junior forward Digna Strautmane and then a turnover and point from sophomore guard Emily Engstler helped the Orange pull away with to take a 52-39 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

In a lot of missed baskets from both sides, and SU being solid at their offensive rebounds, the Orange maintained a 56-42 lead. Clemson remained effective in the times they could go past SU defense. Syracuse, led by Kiara Lewis who finished with 17 points and Gabrielle Cooper who led the team with nine rebounds, closed out the win over the Tigers 59-46.

Syracuse (15-11, 9-6 ACC) now heads to South Bend to face Notre Dame at noon Sunday.