SU wins big on senior night

No. 24 Syracuse upset No. 13 Louisville in the last Big East regular season game in the Carrier Dome Monday night, 68-57.

The Syracuse women used a 16-0 run spanning nearly eight minutes to propel them to a 68-57 win against the Louisville Cardinals in the team’s regular season finale Monday night at the Carrier Dome.

The win ends a three game losing streak for the No. 24 Orange (23-6, 11-5) and clinches a double bye in the Big East Tournament. The No. 13 Cardinals (23-7, 11-5) drop to fourth place in the conference standings.

Photo: Maddy Jones
Senior center Kayla Alexander reaches for a rebound againts Louisville in her last game in the Carrier Dome.

The team will get some needed rest, after a quick turnaround following Saturday’s triple overtime loss to Villanova.

“We were extremely tired coming out of that last game. We need to rest,” head coach Quentin Hillsman said. “Nobody’s injured, but I think we’re all hurting. I’m hurting, my knees hurt.”

Syracuse was led, fittingly, by its seniors on Senior Night at the Dome. Carmen Tyson-Thomas posted a double-double with ten points and 12 rebounds, Kayla Alexander led the team in scoring with 16 points and Elashier Hall added ten points and six steals.

A Cornelia Fondren lay-up with 14:26 left in the game gave Syracuse a 39-38 lead, a lead  it would not relinquish the rest of the way. Tyson-Thomas, Rachel Coffey, and Hall each added a three pointer during the 16-0 spurt, the Orange had extended its lead to 53-40, which never slipped below four for the remainder of the game.

Tyson-Thomas credited the team’s hustle for the run. “We started to get those loose ball rebounds, we started to push the ball in transition, and we got after it when we missed,” she said.

Hall pointed to the defense, which forced 20 turnovers. “We got together and stopped them defensively. There were a lot of shot clock violations, and that really got us going,” she said.

The winner of the game guaranteed a third place finish in the conference standings, while a Syracuse loss would have dropped the team to fifth after St. John’s defeated DePaul earlier tonight. This is the Orange’s best finish in Big East play since winning the regular season title in 1988.

Not only ended the team’s losing streak, Hillsman said, but it also marked Syracuse’s first win against a ranked opponent this season. He added that he was pleased with the team’s aggressive performance.

“I think that overall, our team played urgently,” he said. “I’m really happy for our kids, they’ve worked so hard to get to this point.”

The Orange honored seniors Alexander, Hall, Tyson-Thomas, and Shanee Williams, all joined by their families, prior to game. Together, the four accrued more wins than any other class in program history. Alexander, Hall, and Tyson-Thomas also all boast 1,000-point careers.

Hillsman praised his seniors, saying they overcame every obstacle in their paths. “This was a class that, when they came in, people doubted,” he said. “And to have Kayla, Carmen, and Lacy all score 1,000 points is tremendous.”

The seniors agreed that playing their final game at the Carrier Dome was a surreal feeling.

“It didn’t dawn on me until after the game,” Tyson-Thomas said. “Looking around, I’m really never going to play here again. Not in this jersey, not on this team.”

“It really hasn’t hit me. Maybe in the fall when I’m not doing preseason, it’ll hit me,” Hall added.

Alexander finished. “What got me was when the fans came up after the game saying, ‘I’m going to miss watching you play here,’” she said. “They always came here and supported us, so not being able to go out there and put on a show for them, that’s when it hit me.”

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