Earlier on Saturday, the Syracuse women’s basketball team took to the floor for their NCAA Tournament tip-off in Lexington, Kentucky. It was a successful appearance for the sixth-seeded Orange, as they grabbed the first tournament win in school history, holding off 11-seed Chattanooga, 59-53.
SU (23-9) bullied the Mocs (29-4) in the game, outrebounding them by a 52-36 margin. There was a simple reason for all those rebounds – plenty of missed shots. Chattanooga outshot Syracuse in the game, but made only 34.4 percent of their field goal attempts. The Orange made only 31.5 percent of their shots from the floor, including 1-of-15 from three-point-range, but they made up for it by making 24-of-31 free throws. The Mocs, in sharp contrast, were only 4-of-14 at the line.
Syracuse had three players post double figures in scoring, led by Shakeya Leary’s 15 points. The other two, Brianna Butler and Brittney Sykes, each posted a double-double. Both players scored 13 points and Sykes grabbed a dozen rebounds while Butler had ten. Sykes contributed her effort before leaving the game in the second half with a leg injury.
The Orange will look to extend their season on Monday when they take on third-seeded Kentucky. The Wildcats (25-8) throttled Wright State in their opening contest, 106-60. The SU-Kentucky game will be at 6:40pm Eastern and will be televised as part of ESPN2’s coverage, as well as available online at espn3.com.