KINGSTON, R.I. – The No. 23/RV Syracuse University women’s basketball team used a fourth-quarter rally to defeat Rhode Island, 57-54, on the road on Friday night. For the ninth straight year, Syracuse recorded a victory in its season opener.
“It was our grit,” head coach Quentin Hillsman stated. “I am just really happy for our players to come back and fight and win that game.”
Down 46-41 heading into the final 10 minutes of action, Syracuse (1-0, 0-0) outscored Rhode Island (0-1, 0-0), 16-8, in the fourth quarter. Redshirt junior guard Brittney Sykes made her only basket of the night with 5:16 remaining to give the Orange the lead for good. URI had opportunities late, but ultimately SU came away with the win.
Senior guard Brianna Butler knocked down six 3-point field goals en route to a team-high 20-point effort. It marked her 10th straight contest scoring in double figures. In addition, Butler was one 3-pointer shy of matching her career-best.
Junior guard Alexis Peterson, a 2015 ACC All-Defensive Team honoree, was electric on the defensive end at Rhode Island. Peterson set the program record with 10 steals on the night. She recorded eight steals in the first half, one shy of the previous SU single-game record.
Rhode Island sophomore guard Charise Wilson, the 2015 Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year, recorded 26 points in the first three quarters. Senior guard Cornelia Fondren shadowed Wilson in the final 10 minutes of play and did not allow her to score a single point.
Junior center Briana Day led the charge in the fourth-quarter comeback, scoring six points in the final frame. Day finished with 14 points and nine rebounds, one board shy of her 17th double-double of her collegiate career.
The Orange returns to court on Friday, Nov. 20 when it takes on No. 4/4 Tennessee. Tipoff is slated for 7:00 p.m. in Knoxville, Tenn. The game will be broadcast on the SEC Network.