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Syracuse Women's Basketball Schedule Look Ahead: Next Five Games

A look at the Orange's upcoming opponents.

A one-two punch of COVID-19 and the beginning of ACC play have the Orange down on the mat right now, almost one month removed from their last victory.

Syracuse’s late December contest vs Siena never made it past pregame warmups due to a COVID-19 related scare. With the Saints being winless at that time, the game’s postponement robbed the Orange of arguably their most probable victory to date. Less than two weeks later, Syracuse also saw their game against Florida State fall through for the same reason.

But between those unforeseen bumps in the road, the Orange also ran into some tough luck on the actual hardwood, dropping games against North Carolina, Boston College, and Duke. Syracuse now sits with an 8-7 record, needing to turn their season back around even amidst a difficult five game stretch.

Thursday, Jan. 13 at Louisville

As the first of three upcoming contests vs ranked opponents, the Orange head down south to battle No. 3 Louisville later this week. The Cardinals only loss this year came during their season opener against Arizona, with the team now riding a 13-game winning streak.

Astute defense typically gets it done for Louisville, with the Cardinals surrendering the second fewest points per game in the entire NCAA to their opponents this year. By also forcing their opponents to shoot just 25.0 percent from three, the 21st lowest mark, Louisville looks built to slow down this Syracuse team which loves to let it fly from deep, averaging the second most 3-point attempts per game in the ACC.

Against Duke the other day, the Orange did well to work the ball inside even while occasionally threatening from deep. To play away from Louisville's defensive strengths, Syracuse needs to maintain that emphasis on attacking the paint if they want to stick with the Cardinals. Watch for the team to especially feature forward Alaysia Styles in the offense, who reached double figures as a scorer in six of her last seven outings.

Sunday, Jan. 16 at Virginia

Dwelling in the ACC’s basement with a 3-9 record, Virginia needs to string together a few wins ever more so than the Orange right now.

Completely opposite to Louisville, the Cavaliers struggle extensively at defending the 3-point shot, allowing their opponents to shoot 38.5 percent from deep, the fourth highest in the NCAA.

So right off the heels of a game where the Orange want to stray away from the 3-point arc, they need to race back toward it and strike Virgina at this weak point in their armor. Watch for Christianna Carr, Najé Murray, and Chrislyn Carr to come through with monster games, who all rank in the ACC’s top-10 in 3-point field goals made per game this year.

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Thursday, Jan. 20 vs Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech just blew out Virginia, more than doubling their scoring output and naturally posing twice as big a threat to the Orange.

The Yellow Jackets currently own an 11-3 record, having taken quality wins over Connecticut and Georgia earlier this year, but with a recent loss to Louisville. Lorela Cubaj headlines the team, averaging the second most assists per game and the leading rebounder in the ACC.

With Syracuse having built their entire team around an emphasis on forcing turnovers and running the fast break, the Yellow Jackets will look to derail that game plan entirely, accustomed to playing clean basketball with the ACC’s second highest assist-to-turnover ratio. With these two strengths contradicting each other, something will have to give in this matchup.

Thursday, Jan. 27 at Notre Dame

Much like the Yellow Jackets, No. 20 Notre Dame plays clean and cohesive basketball, with their assist-to-turnover ratio just a hair better than Georgia Tech’s. Again, that directly counters what the Orange like to do as a pesky defensive team.

But the Fighting Irish also dominate their opponents on the glass, being one of just three ACC teams to rank top five in both offensive and defensive rebounding this year.

In Syracuse’s last two games, they played big teams in Boston College and Duke. Against the Eagles, they struggled mightily, losing the battle on the glass 51-35. But when facing the Blue Devils, they clawed their way to a 47-35 victory on the boards. If the Orange want to stick with the Fighting Irish, they need another gritty effort like that, rather than the one prior.

Sunday, Jan. 30 vs Pittsburgh

Even with a polished 9-5 overall record, the Panthers lost their first three conference games, leaving them a few slots behind Syracuse in the ACC standings.

To be fair though, those losses all came against ranked teams, making them somewhat understandable. But underneath all that, Pittsburgh represents a true force in the rebounding department more like Notre Dame, ranking eighth in the country with 30.8 defensive boards per game.

However, their ball security remains suspect, with the Panthers averaging a conference-high 19.6 turnovers per game. The Orange can use that to their advantage to ignite their fast break offense and try to close out January with a victory.