SU Women's Basketball v. Pittsburgh

Women's Basketball remains flawless at home

The team led for a majority of the game, pulling away at the end.

Syracuse women's basketball (15-5, 3-4 ACC) came back home to over 8,000 Orange fans at the Carrier Dome Sunday afternoon to beat the Pittsburgh Panthers (9-11, 1-6 ACC) 70-52 following two straight losses on the road to NC State and Miami.

Syracuse is now a perfect 10-0 at home this season.

Pittsburgh's last lead in the game came with 3:46 remaining in the first quarter when guard Alayna Gribble hit a jumper to put the Panthers up 11-10. Syracuse regained the lead 25 seconds later off a three-pointer by guard Gabrielle Cooper, and the Orange never looked back, eventually earning a hard-earned win while sending the fans home happy with a free taco from Taco Bell by scoring at least 65 points.

Photo: Brittney Vella
Syracuse’s Isis Young drives past the defense during the game against Pittsburgh on Sunday in the Carrier Dome.

Syracuse Head Coach Quentin Hillsman said the biggest focus for the Orange was toughness, both mentally and physically.

"Toughness is doing what you're supposed to do all the time," Hillsman said postgame. "Are you able to execute your plays under pressure? Are you boxing out? Are you gonna make the right and the right decision? That's what toughness is. We had to play tougher, and I thought today we did that," Hillsman added.

Guard Tiana Mangakahia said the Orange received a heavy home-court advantage today because so many passionate fans came out to watch them play.

"It has a big impact on team morale," Mangakahia said postgame. "Going to away games and seeing their insane crowds, then coming here and not getting a lot of fans it's very disappointing. But today was great, it helped us a lot. You can hear them when you're on the court. It excites your whole body, the adrenaline is just helps a lot," Mangakahia added.

While the Orange play impressively well at home, Syracuse has won just two of six away games this season.

Cooper said the team has to start playing with a "This is our court" mentality away from the Dome if it wants to win.

This was Syracuse's 13th straight win against Pittsburgh. The last time the Panthers beat the Orange was January 24th, 2009, when Pittsburgh won 77-75.

The Orange remain home next game as the Clemson Tigers(11-9, 1-6 ACC) come into town Jan. 25. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. The Tigers will come to the Carrier Dome looking to get back on track after being handed a 90-37 loss by #5 Notre Dame Sunday afternoon.

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