Despite trailing for over 20:00, the Syracuse University women’s basketball team (18-8, 8-5) escaped the Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg, VA with a 59-51 win over Virginia Tech (10-16, 1-12) Sunday afternoon.
SU struggled offensively in the first half. The Orange tallied 19 points on 5-35 shooting, including 0-17 from 3. Despite the shooting woes, Syracuse led 17-12 with 3:55 remaining in the opening half. That was before the Hokies came alive, closing the first 20 minutes on a 13-2 run to lead the Orange 24-19 at intermission.
The teams combined to shoot 14-62 from the field in the first 20 minutes. 3 point shooting was particularly troublesome. Just 7.4 percent of those shots taken by both teams in the first half went through the net (2-27.)
A series of runs took place in the second half. Coming out of the break, Alexis Peterson powered the ‘Cuse with its first 3 pointer of the game during a 9-3 SU run in which the Orange reclaimed a 28-27 lead.
That lead was short-lived. The Hokies went on a 7-1 run over the next 3 minutes to hold a 34-29 advantage with 13:33 to play in regulation.
Things looked bleak for Syracuse head coach Quentin Hillsman’s squad until the final 4 minutes. Virginia Tech was leading 50-43 with 4:09 left before SU asserted its place as the superior team, closing out the Hokies with a 16-1 run. Brianna Butler hit the go- ahead 3 pointer with 1:39 left to give the Orange a 53-51 lead.
Butler led all scorers with 19 points on 6-16 shooting with a trio of 3 pointers. She was aided by Peterson’s 17 points and Briana Day’s double-double (12 points, 14 rebounds.)