Syracuse women's basketball cruises into the second round of the NCAA Tournament

The Orange defense was too much for Army to handle as they defeated the Black Knights, 73-56.

The No. 4 seed Syracuse women's basketball team dominated its first round matchup in the NCAA Tournament. The Orange jumped out to an early lead on Friday thanks to its stifling defense. SU pressed Army right from the start and took the Black Knights out of their comfort zone. Syracuse forced 14 first half turnovers and, before it was all over, Army had turned the ball over 23 times.

Army star Kelsey Minato just couldn't get anything going against the smothering defense. Syracuse made a point to guard her tighter than her teammates. The result was an underwhelming performance for Minato. She finished the game with 10 points, going just 3 of 14 from the field.

In addition to her strong defense at the top of the SU zone, junior guard Alexis Peterson led the Orange with 24 points. Redshirt junior guard Brittney Sykes added a little bit of everything. Sykes racked up 13 points (5-6 from the floor), 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals. The final score showed Syracuse winning by 17 points, but it really wasn't even that close. Army was playing catch-up the entire game. 'Cuse jumped out to a 36-6 lead in the first half and coasted from there, entering halftime up 39-14. The Black Knights did cut the lead down to 12 late in the game, but it was too little, too late. Syracuse would win 73-56.

Syracuse will play No. 12 seed Albany in the Carrier Dome on Sunday. Albany used a late run to upset No. 5 Florida on Friday, 61-59. A win over the Great Danes would send SU to its first Sweet 16 in program history.

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