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No. 18 Syracuse defeats Houston, 86-63, in season-best shooting performance

first_img Published on November 28, 2019 at 10:18 pm Contact David: [email protected] Before Syracuse faced No. 1 Oregon on Sunday, an upset seemed unlikely. The Ducks beat Team USA, 93-86, in a preseason exhibition, then coasted through their first three games, winning by an average margin of 45 points. But SU limited Oregon to just nine made field goals in the first half and trailed by just a point. The Orange were then blown out in the third quarter, 31-16, putting the game out of reach. Syracuse forward Digna Strautmane said SU “folded” in the second half. On Thursday, No. 18 Syracuse (4-1) didn’t make the same mistake twice. It held a five-point lead over Houston (3-3) at halftime, then pulled away in the third quarter to secure a 86-63 win in the first round Greater Victoria Invitational in Victoria, British Columbia on Thursday night. The Orange shot 32-for-62 (51.6 percent) from the field, their best shooting performance of the season.Four SU players scored at least 14 points — Kiara Lewis (17), Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi (16), Gabrielle Cooper (14) and Emily Engstler (14). Lewis nearly notched a triple-double with nine rebounds and eight assists. Engstler grabbed 15 rebounds, a career-high, for her third double-double of the season.Djaldi-Tabdi and Lewis powered the Orange’s offense in the first quarter, just as they did in Sunday’s 81-64 loss to No. 1 Oregon. The pair combined for 39 points against the Ducks and 15 of SU’s 25 first quarter points on Thursday. After posting 12 points across the first three games of the season, Djaldi-Tabdi has shot 13-for-19 with 32 points since.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBut Syracuse’s high-scoring start was negated by Houston’s hot 3-point shooting. The Cougars went 6-for-6 from deep in the first quarter, including three long balls from Dorian Branch. Dymond Gladney made her first start of the season in place of leading scorer Jasmyne Harris, who left the team earlier this week. Gladney sunk two 3s of her own in the opening quarter.The sides traded baskets throughout the second quarter, with neither team gaining a lead greater than four points until the final seconds of the half. SU freshman guard Teisha Hyman, who played five total minutes this season before Thursday, scored her first points of the season with four seconds left in the first quarter, then added another bucket nine seconds before halftime to send the Orange into the break with a 45-40 advantage.All eight Syracuse players that saw the court in the first half scored. The Orange shot 17-for-33 across the first two quarters en route to their highest-scoring half of the season. SU hadn’t surpassed 34 points in the first half all year. Syracuse asserted itself to start the second half, doing so through Amaya Finklea-Guity. The 6-foot-4 center used her size to dominate down low, dropping in three layups before the first under-five media timeout in the third quarter. By then, SU had stretched its lead to 15. A layup by Lewis followed by back-to-back threes from Djaldi-Tabdi and Engstler to start the fourth quarter gave the Orange a 23-point advantage. SU tallied 41 points in the second half — its second-highest scoring half of the season — while holding Houston to 24 points. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more