Duke vs. Syracuse Game Preview

#12 Duke comes to the Carrier Dome where the Orange are waiting to avenge last season.

GAME 15: #12 Duke (11-3 overall, 0-0 ACC) vs. Syracuse (11-3 overall, 0-0 ACC)

*First ACC game of the season for both teams.

ALL-TIME SERIES: Duke, 3-0 (Last Meeting 2015 – Duke: W, 74-72)

DATE: Sunday, January 3rd, 2015

GAME TIME: 1:00 PM EST

LOCATION: Carrier Dome

TV: ESPNU: Channel 370 on Time Warner Cable (need sports package); Channel 73 on Verizon Fios; Channel 208 on Direct TV; Channel 141 on Dish Network.

ORANGE RECAP: The Orange comes off a complete domination of the University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley with a 91-32 victory just two days ago.  Brianna Butler and Alexis Peterson led the way with 19 and 14 points, respectively.  Syracuse used their Windex to perfection grabbing 59 rebounds on the glass, to UTRGV’s 44.  Isabella Slim snatched the most with her 9, but Brittney Sykes (8), Taylor Ford (8), Julia Chandler (6) and Cornelia Fondren (6) all brought their hard hats for the battle under the boards.  Peterson bested Sykes in terms of assists six to five, but the ‘Cuse again shared the ball 18 times en route to baskets.  The Orange have scored 90 points in their last two games, and over 80 in their last three with wins over Howard (97-48) and Drexel (83-62) included in that stretch.  Butler added five more three pointers to her season total bringing her up to 47 on the year, which gives her a 31.5% rate from beyond the 3 point line.  She is certainly a volume shooter in the Orange offense, with kick-outs consistently finding her around the arc.  Junior, Alexis Peterson is really the motor for Syracuse.  Her 70 assists during the 2015-16 campaign allow for great efficiency for the ‘Cuse offensively, and 42 steals solidify the defensive output with great ball pressure.  The Orange takes their four game win streak and 6 out of 7 victories against the Blue Devils to open ACC play.

DUKE: The Blue Devils enter the contest as the #12 team in the nation, and sixth in the ACC standings in terms of overall records ahead of Syracuse in seventh place.  Thus far only six teams have played ACC conference games, so the standings are a little skewed.  Perennially, the Duke women’s program is one of the top teams in the nation; and they like Syracuse have played some of the tougher teams in the country including  #2 South Carolina (L, 66-55) and #7 Kentucky (L, 71-61).  Despite the results, it can be assured that the Blue Devils will come in battle tested.  They are coming off two straight victories over Western Carolina (84-47) and UNC-Wilmington (78-56), so just like the Orange their confidence is high heading into ACC play.  Azurá Stevens (G/F, #11) is the player to watch for the Dukies, leading all scorers at 18.2 per game.  She is trailed only by Rebecca Greenwell (G, #23) at 14.0 per game, as all other scorers are below a double-figure average.  Greenwell is the deep threat shooting 38.6% from three-point range and she has also grabbed 80 rebounds on the season.  Only Oderah Chidom (84) and Stevens (125) have more, as the Devils out-rebound their opponents 613-475.  At 73.5 ppg., with opponents at 55.3 this should be a tough test for the Orange.  With Syracuse just outside the Top 25 and Duke nearing the Top 10, a women’s basketball fan will find this match-up a must see on the slate games to start conference competition.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR:

1. Opening ACC games is a much anticipated date on the calendar for all teams.  But, the match-up is sweetened a little more for the Orange as they tied the Blue Devils for 4th place in the league standings last year.  However, since Duke prevailed 74-72 in their lone meeting at Cameron Indoor Stadium, that was the tie breaker that allowed them to be one spot ahead of the 5th place Orange.  There is certainly bragging rights and revenge in the minds of Syracuse, as two of the top teams annually in the ACC square off.

2. Alexis Peterson has been all-world for Syracuse this year.  Can she and Brianna Butler provide the leadership that the ‘Cuse will need to beat this new conference rival?  Peterson’s assists and steals will have to be high to control the tempo in a way that can give the Orange an edge.

3. The crowd.  Will someone please come and watch these ladies play?!  Just outside the Top 25, but ranked consistently over the last couple of year, Syracuse really has a strong women’s program led by Head Coach Quentin Hillsman.  Coach Q will have his squad ready for this match-up and it is imperative to show support for this team, especially for one of the top games on their schedule this year in the Dome.   


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