Balanced scoring leads SU past Virginia in ACC tournament

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The No. 18/16 Syracuse University women’s basketball team defeated Virginia, 67-57, in the second round of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament Thursday morning. Syracuse (23-7, 12-5 ACC) advances to face fourth-seed Miami (24-7, 12-4 ACC) at 11:00 am tomorrow with the victory.

Four Orange shooters scored in the double-digits, including forward Digna Strautmane, who led all scorers with 14 points and five rebounds. Guards Tiana Mangakahia and Kiara Lewis scored 13 and 12 points, respectively, while forward Miranda Drummond chipped in 11 points.

“We understood coming into this tournament that this is the best conference in the country” head coach Quentin Hillsman said. “We never come into these games thinking they will be easy and we won’t with Miami.”

Guard Gabrielle Cooper brought her hot hands into the game Thursday, hitting two threes in the first quarter. Her second three-pointer of the game came at the five-minute mark of the first quarter, giving the Orange an early six-point advantage. ‘Cuse held onto that lead for the rest of the quarter, ending the first 10 minutes of play with a 22-16 lead.

A steal by Mangakahia led to a three-pointer by Cooper, opening the second quarter for ‘Cuse. The Orange’s lead grew to as large as nine, but a 5-0 run by the Cavaliers closed the gap to 27-23 with under seven minutes to play.

Drummond put an end to Virginia’s threat with her shooting. Three three-pointers from the senior in the final five minutes of the half secured a double-digit, 40-29 lead for Syracuse entering halftime.

From there, the Orange took control and never looked back. Strautmane’s shooting in the third quarter propelled the Orange to a 14-point lead, the largest advantage of the game. Strautmane scored eight of her 14 points in the third.

While back-to-back baskets from Virginia’s Jocelyn Willoughby in the final minutes of the quarter cut into the Orange’s lead, Syracuse maintained a double-digit advantage to end the third before winning by 10.

Syracuse will face fourth-seeded Miami at 11 a.m. tomorrow. Fans can follow along live on RSN.

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