SYRACUSE, N.Y. (SYRACUSE ATHLETICS) – With 1,592 fans in attendance, Syracuse used a 59-46 victory over Clemson Thursday night in the Carrier Dome to secure its fifth-straight victory and improve to 10-3 at home. The ninth consecutive win over the Tigers (7-20, 3-13 ACC) improves the Orange’s record to 15-11 and 9-6 in ACC play. Senior Gabrielle Cooper recorded just her second career double-double in the victory, scoring 10 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
“We’re stringing these games together, and that’s what it’s about this time of year,” head coach Quentin Hillsman said. “We’re just trying to finish the year strong. One of the things they say the NCAA Committee looks at is how you finish the season. We are trying to make our move to play in the NCAA tournament. We can’t worry about what other teams are doing. All we can do is take care of ourselves, and that’s what we’re doing. We’re playing the best basketball we can play right now.”
Cooper’s double-double was her first since Syracuse’s 83-81 overtime victory over No. 16 DePaul in November 2018. Her 10 points bring her career total to 1,055. She now sits 26th in the Syracuse career scoring records, passing Kristen McCory (’96, 1,046).
Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi sank a layup midway through the first quarter to hit the 500 point mark of her career. The field goal also marked her 200th point of the season.
A trio of Orange players reached double digits in Kiara Lewis, Amaya Finklea-Guity (11) and Cooper. Tonight marked Lewis’ fifth-straight 15+ point outing.
Syracuse went 10-for-18 from the field in the third quarter for a remarkable 55.6 percent.
Syracuse was limited to just four points in the second quarter, the fewest of a quarter all season. Last time Syracuse was limited to four points was Jan. 27, 2019 at Duke. Cuse scored four in the second to enter halftime trailing 26-21 before using a second-half rally to top the Blue Devils, 64-55, for the first win in Cameron Indoor Stadium in program history.
‘Cuse allowed just one Tiger to reach double digits. Tigers leading scorer Kobi Thornton finished with 12 points, three assists and seven rebounds. Clemson’s second most productive player was Kendall Spray who registered eight points.
How it Happened:
The Orange opened on a 10-point run before Clemson hit a pair of jumpers to end the streak. A 12-3 push then put Syracuse ahead 22-7 with three minutes to play in the opening quarter. The Orange closed out the first 10 minutes with a 24-11 lead, Lewis registering eight points and Emily Engstler earning four helpers. ‘Cuse held the Tigers’ Thornton to just four points.
The Orange went cold in the second quarter and allowed the Tigers to string together nine unanswered to cut their lead to just four, 24-20. Syracuse’s only points of the quarter came off a layup from Gabrielle Cooper at the 2:49 mark and from Lewis at the buzzer. The Orange went into halftime leading 28-22 but shot 30.3 percent in the first 20 minutes.
The Orange offense stalled for a bit at the start of the third frame, Syracuse scoring just two points and allowing Clemson to get six straight. ‘Cuse found its footing midway through the quarter and opened up a 13-0 run to go up 47-35 with three minutes to play. Five more points for the home team put Syracuse ahead 52-39 heading into the final stanza. Syracuse dominated the floor game in the third quarter, shooting 55.6 percent.
Both teams combined for just 14 points in the fourth, but the Orange’s seven were all they needed to secure the win and turn their eyes to Notre Dame.
Syracuse hits the road Sunday for a noon tilt against the Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. Fans can watch the game on ACC Network Extra.
Up Next in the Dome:
Syracuse hosts Boston College at 4 p.m. Sunday, March 1 (Regional Sports Network, YES Network in Syracuse) for the final game of the regular season. It’s senior day and alumni weekend for the Orange. Brooke Alexander, Elemy Colomé, Gabrielle Cooper, Whisper Fisher, Kiara Lewis and Digna Strautmane will all be recognized in a pregame ceremony.
To celebrate the final game under the current roof of the Carrier Dome, the first 1,500 fans to go to the backcourt marketing table at halftime will receive a tin Carrier Dome replica. Tickets for the game start at $10 for adults and $5 for youth under 12.
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