Kiara Lewis fuels Syracuse to win at Duke

Orange Nation
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 One game after a career-high scoring performance, guard Kiara Lewis exploded once again. Lewis scored a career-best 20 points, including 15 in the Orange’s turnaround 31-point third quarter, to lead the No. 13/14th-ranked Syracuse women’s basketball team to a 64-55 win over Duke Sunday afternoon.

The Orange snapped their two-game losing streak with the win, improving their record to 16-4 overall. Syracuse is now 5-2 in Atlantic Coast Conference play.

“Any road win in this conference is tremendous,” head coach Quentin Hillsman said. “It’s tough to play on the road in this conference. It’s the best conference in the country.” 

It was the first win at Cameron Indoor Stadium for the Orange. Syracuse improves to 3-5 all-time against the Blue Devils and 1-2 in Durham. 

“Duke’s a very talented basketball team. They play really hard, and they run great plays. We have to give them credit for being tough.”

Lewis did much of her damage in the third quarter, connecting on 5-of-7 field-goal attempts, including four three-pointers. Her 15 points spurred the Orange’s comeback through a tumultuous second and third quarter.

Syracuse saw its lead dwindle after the first quarter. Up five at the start of the second period, the Orange were limited to four points and shot under 10 percent from the floor in the quarter, entering the halftime break down by five.

While Duke’s lead grew to as much as 11 midway through the third quarter, Lewis came alive right in the nick of time. The Orange scored 31 in the quarter and took the lead for good thanks to Lewis, who converted a four-point play to put Syracuse ahead 33-31 with 5:30 to go in the third.

She added to that lead 10 seconds later. Guard Tiana Mangakahia forced a steal and passed to Lewis, who once again drilled a three, putting the Orange up by five and in the driver’s seat.

Lewis’ career-best 20-point output comes one game after she netted her previous career high of 16 points against No. 23 Miami.

“Kiara was fantastic for us,” Hillsman said. “She scored the ball. She was aggressive. Give our kids credit, they came out in the second half and played tough.”

Mangakahia, meanwhile, finished the game with 13 points and a team-high seven assists. Forward Digna Strautmane recorded team-high nine rebounds, while guard Gabrielle Cooper pulled down seven boards.

Guard Miranda Drummond returned to the lineup and scored eight points in 18 minutes of play. She connected on two three-pointers.

The Orange return home Wednesday, Jan. 31 to host Virginia at 7 p.m.

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