Women's Basketball

Syracuse loses to Duke in ACC tournament quarterfinals

Jeff Anderson | Staff Photographer

Quentin Hillsman's team couldn't repeat another run to the ACC title game.

No. 21 Syracuse (21-10, 11-5 Atlantic Coast) fell, 68-46, to No. 13 Duke (26-4, 13-3) Friday night in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals at the HTC Center in Conway, South Carolina. Alongside just nine points from Alexis Peterson and 13 from Brittney Sykes, an 18-point performance from Gabby Cooper wasn’t enough. The 46 points were a season low.

The first half was tightly contested, and the Orange entered halftime down just 29-26 after Duke guard Kyra Lambert hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to send the Blue Devils into the locker room with the lead. Cooper paced the Orange with 12 first-half points, but Peterson and Sykes shot just 4-of-17 from the field, as the conference’s two leading scorers entered the locker room with 10 combined points.

For the Blue Devils, Oderah Chidom and Lexie Brown combined for 15 first-half points on 6-of-9 shooting, and Duke’s three-two and two-three zone pressured SU into a number of unwanted shots for a majority of the half.

“The three-two zone is gonna give you shots in the corner, but you gotta knock them down,” Hillsman said. “We got looks, but we gotta make shots.”

The second half was even worse for the Orange from the field, shooting just 21.6 percent on 37 shots. Sykes and Peterson added just 12 combined points to their first half tally, and Cooper cooled off from 3, adding six points in the final half.

Peterson finished the game with a shooting percentage just above 19 percent. Hillsman attributed it to Duke’s presence at the top of the key on pick-and-roll plays, which didn’t allow Peterson to drive to the hoop. He said the Blue Devils were also running a “good scheme” on the Orange’s ball actions.

“It’s not the result you want,” Hillsman said. “We shot 23 percent, and the key for us is making shots.”

Brown finished with a game-high 22 points for the Blue Devils, followed by  Kendall Cooper and Chidom with 12 and 11, respectively. The Blue Devils had 18 turnovers on the night, and since SU was unable to convert at the hoop, the Orange failed to initiate its press for most of the game.

Isabella Slim started and played 33 minutes for SU, but failed to score a single point all game.

The lone bright spot for SU came in the form of Cooper, whose 18 points sat one-shy of her career-best point total. Hillsman said that Cooper’s future is “very bright”, but in a game where Peterson and Sykes failed to carry their weight in the scoring column, even one of Cooper’s best wasn’t enough for SU.

“Give Duke a lot of credit, they played solid and they stayed consistent to their game plan,” Hillsman said. “We just got unraveled.”

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