Syracuse women’s basketball season ends in NCAA First Round after defeat to Cowgirls

Cuse loses in NCAA First Round

The Orange were outscored 27-9 in the third quarter.
Published: March 18, 2018

A hot streak by the Oklahoma State Cowgirls ends Syracuse women’s basketball season, as the Orange lost 84-57 in the NCAA Tournament First Round.

Coach Quentin Hillsman travelled to Starkville, Miss with his team hoping to reach the Round of 32 for the fifth straight season. Coming off an offensive collapse against Virginia Tech on March 1, the Syracuse women’s basketball team needed to show something different in order to advance into the second round.

Syracuse sophomore guard Tiana Mangakahia opened her NCAA Tournament scoring for the Orange on a layup inside after missing her first 3-pointer. The only Syracuse player with NCAA Tournament experience was sophomore Gabrielle Cooper. The guard made her presence known early by setting a screen for Mangakahia, dropping to the 3-point arc and draining a shot from deep.

Oklahoma State continued to work its offense. After finishing the season third in the Big 12, the Cowgirls played through redshirt freshman Jaden Hobbs. The guard scored her opening points from beyond the arc, and continued to be a threat for the Syracuse 2-3 zone. Hobbs was helped by Kaylee Jensen, who grabbed an offensive rebound and scored even after being fouled by Syracuse forward Digna Strautmane to make it a 16-6 Oklahoma State lead.

“We ran into a buzzsaw tonight,” Syracuse head coach Quentin Hillsman said.

But the Orange stormed back, going on a 13-0 run that culminated with a Drummond three, assisted by Mangakahia, to give Syracuse the lead. The quarter ended with Oklahoma State up 23-22.

Oklahoma State began to pull away in the second quarter. Down three following a layup by Syracuse center Amaya Finklea-Guity, the Cowgirls scored 11 straight points to take a 40-32 lead into halftime.

They did not stop there. Syracuse’s offense went stalwart in the third quarter, with Strautmane, Drummond and Mangakahia scoring a total of nine points. Meanwhile, Hobbs went perfect in the quarter, scoring 15 of her team’s 27 points to take a 67-41 lead.

“They play in a different conference. We knew that they were going to be physical,” Mangakahia said.

Down 26 points with 10 minutes to go, Syracuse knew it may be too little too late. Drummond scored three 3-pointers late in the quarter, but Hobbs did not miss in the quarter either, as Oklahoma State won 84-57.