Short Handed Syracuse Falls at North Carolina
Syracuse scored a season low in points as the short handed Orange fell at undefeated and 24th ranked North Carolina 79-43 on Thursday. The loss ended Syracuse's six game winning streak, and dropped the Orange to 8-5 overall. A matchup against the Tar Heels proved especially difficult without players like Najé Murray and Alaysia Styles. Syracuse Women’s basketball announced prior to the game that Murray and Styles, along with Jayla Thorton and Eboni Walker did not travel with the team due to health and safety protocols.
With just seven active players and two starters unable to play, the Orange were simply overwhelmed. Junior Alaina Rice and freshman Nyah Wilson were put in the starting lineup where Murray and Styles would usually be.
The Orange couldn’t put up more than 15 points in a single quarter, and no player was able to surpass that number on their own. Teisha Hyman led the team with 11 points and Alaina Rice was right behind her with 10 points. Syracuse kept it somewhat close in the first half, but trailed by 12 at halftime. It was in the third quarter that North Carolina pulled away, outscore Syracuse 21-6.
The Tar Heels defense presented an especially tough challenge for a team that only had seven active players. The Orange had 22 turnovers and only 40 rebounds as opposed to North Carolina’s 68. Styles is Syracuse's best rebounder and starting center. The Orange is on the smaller size anyway, but much more so without Styles.
With such a limited number of players the Orange were continually out on the court with just two players on the bench at a time. The exhaustion was evident as those out on the court were playing a majority of the time.
While the Orange struggled against the Tar Heels defense, they were able to outmatch them at the free throw line with 73.7% (14/19) making it, as opposed to North Carolina’s 52.4% (11/21).
The matchup against North Carolina presented an undefeated team that was able to block Syracuse from getting to the net at almost every opportunity. Not to mention, they were able to keep the Orange in check when they went for three. With twenty three attempts, Syracuse was only able to put in five.
This was Syracuse's first game in twelve days due to postponing the matchup with Siena on Wednesday. COVID-19 protocols forced the game to be moved, extending the break for the Orange.
While Syracuse had a number of contributing factors in today’s loss, a lack of players was what caused almost every single issue that the team faced. Syracuse will next take on Florida State in the Dome on Sunday, January 2nd.