The Syracuse women’s basketball team — ranked 18th in the latest coaches Top 25 poll — nearly blew a 20-point lead, but hung on to beat George Washington 74-71 in the opening round of the Gulf Coast Showcase down in Fort Myers, Florida.

The senior backcourt of Alexis Peterson and Brittney Sykes combined for 48 points to lead SU, who improved to 3-1 on the year.

Syracuse led by as many as 20 points in the 2nd quarter, and took an 11-point lead into the final frame, before the Colonials pulled to within 3 with less than a minute to play.

Peterson connected on 3-of-4 free throws down the stretch to ice the game.

The Orange will next face #8 Ohio State on Saturday at 7:30pm in the tournament semifinals. The Buckeyes beat Florida Gulf Coast in their opening game 79-66.