Top-seeded Louisville’s 3-point shooting was too much for Syracuse to overcome, as the Orange fell to the Cardinals, 71-46, in the quarterfinals of the 2020 ACC Tournament. The No. 5-ranked Cardinals made 12 shots from downtown, led by ACC Player of the Year Dana Evans, who made six.
Evans led all scorers with 23 points. The Cardinals outrebounded the Orange, 53-31. Syracuse shot just 27 percent from the field and was outscored 20-5 in the second quarter. Kiara Lewis led the Orange in scoring for the 25th time this season, scoring 18 points. Louisville advances to play fourth-seed Florida State Saturday.
“Obviously disappointed in the loss, for yesterday was a big game for us,” head coach Quentin Hillsman said. “We knew we had to win the first one to get to the second one. We had a great opportunity today to play against one of the best teams in the country. The have a chance to do some big things and possibly win a National Championship. Jeff has done a fantastic job with this basketball team. We knew we had to play with tempo, play with some pace and try to make some shots and when you shoot 17% in the first half it makes a difference. The second half we didn’t make a few shots. We were able to you know, speed the game up a little bit and get some more possessions. Just a lot of credit has to go to Louisville. They were fantastic today. We knew this game was going to be tough for us coming off yesterday’s game but I thought our kids came out and battled as hard as they could I know I coached as hard as I could and the outcome is what it is.”
• Kiara Lewis is now tied for seventh place with Kayla Alexander (2011-12) on Syracuse’s single-season points list. Lewis scored 18, moving her total points to 547 on the season.
• Gabrielle Cooper moved ahead of Tiana Mangakahia’s total of 1,114 points for 20th on the program’s all-time scoring list. Cooper finished with eight points, giving her 1,117 in her career.
• Emily Engstler’s first rebound of the game put her in eighth place on the single-season rebounding list, passing Chandrea Jones. She finished with five boards, good for 286 total on the season.
• The Orange shot 7.1 percent from the field in the second quarter, a season low for any quarter. Syracuse was 1-for-14 in the frame. The previous low was 8.3 percent in the second quarter against No. 3 Stanford on November 29.
• Syracuse’s 46 points in the game was the second-lowest total this season (41 vs. Virginia February 2).
• Syracuse committed just nine fouls, the lowest in a game this season.
How It Happened:
• Both teams struggled out of the gate, each missing a shot and committing a turnover. However, Louisville found a rhythm, going on a 7-0 run. An Emily Engstler dish to Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi got Syracuse on the board with just under six minutes remaining. Four turnovers hurt the Orange in the first half of the frame, as the Cardinals jumped out to a 9-2 lead at the media timeout. Dana Evans had two 3-pointers to lead Louisville to a 14-8 advantage after a defense-dominated first quarter.
• Evans began the second quarter where she left off, extending the Louisville lead to 17-8 after a steal and three-point play. The Cardinals increased their lead to 14 with under five minutes to play in the half. A Lewis 3-pointer at the shot clock buzzer with just more than three minutes remaining in the half ended a Louisville 12-1 run. Evans and Jazmine Jones made back-to-back deep balls to give the Cardinals a 34-13 lead with under a minute to go that would remain until the break. Louisville outscored Syracuse, 20-5, in the second quarter.
• The Orange struggled offensively to begin both the first two quarters. Syracuse was held scoreless for the first 4:19 of the opening period and 4:47 of the second. Digna Strautmane and Gabrielle Cooper combined to shoot 0-for-7 from downtown, as the Orange were just 1-for-10 from deep as a team in the first half. ‘Cuse made just five field goals in the opening half. Evans led the way for Louisville with 12 points, making three 3-pointers before the break.
• Louisville opened the second half with five straight points, including another Evans’ 3-pointer. Amaya Finklea-Guity got on the board with a three-point play, but Evans answered with her fifth deep ball. The Cardinals continued shooting lights out, as Bionca Dunham and Kylee Shook got in on the action with 3-pointers of their own. A pair of Finklea-Guity free throws made the score 45-20 at the third quarter media break. Taleah Washington brought some life to Syracuse with a steal and an and-one finish with just under two minutes remaining in the period before a Lewis 3-pointer. The Orange trailed 56-33 headed to the fourth.
• Evans began the final quarter with her sixth 3-pointer. Strautmane returned the favor, hitting a 3-pointer from an Elemy Colomé assist, cutting the Cardinal lead to 59-39 with 7:34 remaining. Both teams continued shooting from deep, as Yacine Diop and Washington traded 3-pointers. Syracuse made two of its last 10 field goals, as Louisville won the game 71-46.
Syracuse is eligible for the postseason with a 16-15 overall record and awaits its postseason fate which will be announced on Monday, March 16.