Virginia Falls 54-49 at Syracuse
Box Score Jan. 2, 2017
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The Virginia women’s basketball team (11-3, 0-1 ACC) fell 54-49 at Syracuse (10-5, 1-1 ACC) to open Atlantic Coast Conference action on Monday night at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, N.Y.
Syracuse started the game missing its first 22 field goal attempts, with 11 of those attempts coming from three-point range. The Orange shot 9.1 percent (4-of-44) in the first half while the Cavaliers were 13-of-27 (48.1 percent) to take a 29-18 lead into the break. Syracuse, fueled by three treys from Alexis Peterson, outscored the Cavaliers 22-13 in the third quarter to make it a two-point game heading into the final period. The Orange completed the comeback less than two minutes into the final period, taking the lead with 8:13 remaining. The Cavaliers temporarily retook the lead, 47-46, but Syracuse scored four points in the final 1:10 to secure the victory.
Syracuse outrebounded Virginia, 54-45, including picking up 26 offensive rebounds. The Cavaliers turned the ball over 27 times, with Syracuse grabbing 20 steals and scoring 25 points off the turnovers.
Alexis Peterson scored 21 points to lead the Orange. Briana Day scored nine points with 13 rebounds, including eight offensive boards.
“We turned the ball over a lot,” said Virginia head coach Joanne Boyle. “This was a game that you really had to take care of the ball. They weren’t particularly shooting the ball well, but we had opportunities. We had missed layups and had a lot of turnovers down the stretch that could have turned into layups. Syracuse is a team that can score over 100 and I thought our defense was on. We turned the ball over, but just didn’t convert on the other end. They had 26 offensive rebounds, which gave them so many chances and they only scored 54 points. We just couldn’t score and turned the ball over 27 times. That is the story of the game.”
Virginia got off to a solid start, shooting 50 percent in the first quarter. A layup from Aiyeotan with 2:55 remaining gave UVA a 14-0 lead. Abby Grant scored Syracuse’s first field goal, hitting a three-pointer with 45 seconds remaining in the period.
In the second quarter, Syracuse turned up its defensive pressure. The Orange scored nine of its first 12 points off UVA turnovers, causing the Cavaliers to turn the ball over 11 times in the first half. The Orange cut the deficit down to nine, 27-18, after Peterson hit a jumper followed by a pair of free throws from Bria Day, but junior guard Aliyah Huland El (Randolph, N.J.) found Aiyeotan under the hoop, setting up a layup with 27 seconds left in the half to send the Cavaliers into the break with a 29-18 advantage.
Back-to-back three-pointers from Peterson cut the deficit to 33-28 three minutes into the second half, but a layup from Aiyeotan stopped the run. Syracuse continued to chip away at the deficit at the free throw line, pulling to within four, 37-33, with five minutes remaining in the period. Senior guard Breyana Mason (Woodbridge, Va.) drove through the lane to convert a layup to temporarily give the Cavaliers some breathing room, but a three-pointer from Peterson with 19 seconds remaining made it a two-point game, 42-40, heading into the fourth quarter.
Briana Day hit a layup 1:07 into the fourth, and then Peterson hit a jumper just inside the line at the top of the arc to give the Orange a 44-42 lead with 8:13 remaining. A three-pointer from junior guard J’Kyra Brown (Rocky Mount, N.C.) followed by free throws from freshman guard Dominique Toussaint (Staten Island, N.Y.) put the Cavaliers back up 47-46, but back-to-back layups from Briana Day and Gabby Cooper put Syracuse up 50-47 with 3:13 remaining. Virginia pulled to within one, 50-49, on a jumper from Huland El on the next possession, but the Cavaliers went 0-for-3 with three turnovers in the final 2:30 while Syracuse scored the final four points of the game to secure the victory.
Virginia finished the game shooting 39.6 percent (21-of-53), but was 8-of-26 (30.7 percent) in the second half. Syracuse shot 21.0 percent (17-of-81). The orange were 14-of-16 from the free throw line, while Virginia was 4-of-7.
Virginia will be back at home taking on No. 8 Louisville on Thursday, January 5 at 7 p.m. at John Paul Jones Arena.
Single-game ticket prices for all home games are $10 for Reserved seating, $8 for adult General Admission and $6 for youth (18 & under), senior (60 & over) and UVA faculty/staff General Admission. Fans may purchase home game tickets through the Virginia Athletics Ticket Office online at VirginiaSports.com, by phone and in person. The Virginia Athletics Ticket Office is located in Bryant Hall at Scott Stadium and open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Telephone purchases can be made by calling 1-800-542-UVA1 (8821) or locally at 434-924-UVA1 (8821).