Women's basketball: Hurricanes storm Syracuse down low in loss

Briana Day struggled in the paint as Miami dominated with close-range buckets.

Less than a minute into Syracuse’s game against Miami, Orange forward Briana Day turned the ball over, giving Suriya McGuire an easy layup. While they were only the first two points in the paint of the game for the Hurricanes (17-7, 7-4 ACC), the Orange couldn’t find a way to stop them from adding more down low.  

Miami finished the game with 44 points in the paint en route to its 85-71 win over Syracuse (17-8, 7-5) on Thursday night at the Carrier Dome. 

“There’s no way you can win a game giving up 44 points in the paint,” head coach Quentin Hillsman said. “They walked in the paint, stealing from us and turning around and shooting layups…it really wasn’t anything too tricky.” 

And while the Orange did manage to score 71 points against a team that held opponents to 57 per game, its offensive production couldn’t make up for the troubles on defense. 

McGuire’s layup gave Miami an early 5-0 lead and accounted for two of Miami’s 28 first-half points down low. The Hurricanes’ first baskets came after Day made two turnovers in the first 42 seconds of the game. 

“It was frustrating, I started off really bad in the first half with securing the ball,” Day said.  

But Syracuse managed to stay in the game early on. The Orange even took an 8-7 lead with 15:32 to go in the half after Brianna Butler hit a three. Butler, who has struggled to find consistency this season, finished the game with 19 points.  

“As a shooter you go through slumps and I think that these last few games I was able to knock down shots and get out of those slumps,” Butler said. 

After Butler’s basket though, Syracuse would not lead again in the half. Miami went on a 12-4 run, ending with two more baskets in the paint by Erykah Davenport with just over a minute left. Her layups gave Miami a 35-25 lead heading into the break. 

Syracuse started the second half strong and Day hit two free throws with 17:27 left to cut the Miami lead to six. But every time Syracuse started to get close, it couldn’t force a stop on the other end of the floor. Right after Day’s free throws, McGuire, who finished the game with a team-high 17 points, sank a three to put Miami back up by nine. 

“We are a team that prides ourselves on defense and we gave up a lot of easy baskets,” SU's Alexis Peterson said. 

The game wasn’t close again until the final minutes when Syracuse went on a 10-2 run and cut the Miami lead to ten with 1:33 left in the game. 

“Down the stretch we got some things going but it was a little too little late,” Hillsman said. 

Syracuse fouled Miami on every possession in the final minute to get the Hurricanes to miss free throws, but they finished the night shooting 24-of-31 from the charity stripe. 

Peterson, who finished with a team-high 21 points, had two back-to-back jumpers with just over thirty seconds left in regulation. 

Next up, Syracuse will take on Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., on Sunday at 2 p.m.

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