Three games, two ranked opponents, and one top-25 win.
It’s been a busy week for the No. 25 Syracuse women’s basketball team, now 17-7 on the season and 7-4 in the ACC.
After a 20-point loss on the road against No. 8 Louisville, the Orange entered the week still in search of its first win versus a ranked opponent.
It’s first opportunity came on Monday night in Tallahassee, squaring off against the No. 9 Florida State Seminoles.
Fourth Conference Loss
The Orange led by one after Cornelia Fondren found the basket just 39 seconds into the game, putting Syracuse ahead of the ‘Noles, 2-1.
But FSU went on an 8-0 run and kept scoring.
Syracuse trailed by 10 points at the half, the largest halftime difference the team has seen all season.
The Orange enjoyed a couple of scoring runs in the second half, but never came within more than three points of the home team during the final 20 minutes of play.
Syracuse shot just 29 percent for the entirety of the game, going 7-of-36 from the field in the first half.
Florida State took the win and handed Syracuse its fourth ACC loss of the season before heading home to meet yet another tough challenger.
Big Win at Home
With two straight losses against ranked teams, the Orange arrived home as the underdog in its game against No. 13 North Carolina on Thursday.
SU started out slow on offense in the first half, shooting 9-of-36 from the field.
But production at the three-point line made all the difference.
Taylor Ford, Alexis Peterson, and senior Maggie Morrison all accounted for 3’s, helping the Orange reach a 29-19 halftime lead over the Tar Heels, despite trailing for the majority of the half.
In the second half, North Carolina kept fighting to regain the lead.
The Tar Heels went up by one point at the 5:18 mark, but behind a 20-point performance by Peterson, Syracuse pulled off the upset in front of its fans in the Carrier Dome for its first win against a ranked opponent this season.
The win bumped the Orange up to 16-7 overall and 6-4 in the ACC before closing out the week in Atlanta.
Defensive Hustle on the Road
After three straight games versus ranked opponents, Syracuse looked to bring home its seventh ACC win of the season against an unranked Georgia Tech team in Atlanta on Sunday.
But even without a ranking, the Yellow Jackets fought to keep the game close after the Orange opened up with a 12-2 lead in the early part of the first half.
Georgia Tech went on an 8-0 run in the final two minutes of the half to cut the Syracuse lead down to five as both teams headed for the locker room.
Syracuse pulled away from the Jackets again to start the second half, but once again, the Orange were forced to fight for its win in the final two minutes of regulation.
The Yellow Jackets managed to get within 8 points of the lead, but strong defensive play by Syracuse throughout the entire game helped the Orange come home with the win.
Alexis Peterson and Brianna Butler ended the afternoon with 14 points each, while the team had 14 steals in the victory along with 17 points off turnovers.
Rankings and Stats
With its first top-25 win and Sunday’s win on the road at Georgia Tech, the Orange should move up in the national rankings and boost its chances of making it into the postseason.
At 17-7, Syracuse has recorded its eighth straight season of winning a minimum of 17 games.
With just five regular season game left on the schedule, the Orange is shooting 36 percent on the season for an average of 70 points per game.
SU is also averaging nearly eight long-range shots in each game, while its opponents average about six.
On Thursday, the Orange host Miami, now 16-7 overall and 6-4 in the ACC.
The Hurricanes head to the Dome after a 80-60 loss in Tallahassee against No. 9 Florida State.
Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
After facing the Hurricanes, Syracuse goes back on the road to compete against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg for a Sunday afternoon game.
The Hookies sit at 10-14 on the season and have just one conference win, going 1-10 in the ACC.