Beat writers predict No. 8 seed Syracuse women’s basketball to get past No. 9 Iowa State
Jeff Anderson | Staff Photographer
After its eighth straight 20-win regular season, No. 8 seed Syracuse (21-10, 11-5 Atlantic Coast) opens up the 2017 NCAA Tournament against No. 9 Iowa State (18-12, 9-9 Big 12) Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at the Harry A. Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Connecticut. SU matches up with an Iowa State team that won five of its last six and the winner will almost certainly face No. 1 overall seed Connecticut on the Huskies’ home floor. Our beat writers weigh in below.
Syracuse 78, Iowa State 73
Syracuse has won seven of its last 10, and will continue to roll against the Cyclones. Behind a balanced effort from Brittney Sykes and Alexis Peterson, Gabby Cooper will find her stroke from behind the arc and thrive in what will be a shootout on both sides. Iowa State won’t force the tempo on the Orange, but the Cyclones will encourage a 3-point battle — something Cooper will be happy to take part in. To balance the offensive see-saw, 6-foot-4 Briana Day will stand out as the tallest player on the court and muscle her way to a double-double. Behind late-game 3-point heroics from Iowa State, the final tally will be far closer than the first-round romping of the Cyclones will seem.
Syracuse 76, Iowa State 68
A 15-day break, Syracuse’s longest of the season, gives reason to believe SU’s full-court pressure, half-court traps and transition offense thrive in the dairy hub that is central Connecticut. Alexis Peterson and Brittney Sykes have their way, combining for 50 points while Briana Day tallies another double-double and Gabby Cooper knocks down 3s. For its part, Iowa State has played 11 Top-25 teams this season, punctuated three weeks ago by a 70-66 win at then-No. 6 Texas. Still, SU picks up its 22nd victory of the season two days before it gets trounced by four-time defending national champion Connecticut.
Syracuse 73, Iowa State 69
Based on rankings, Syracuse should be fairly favored in this game. The Orange plays in the better conference and was ranked for a good portion of the season while Iowa State never was. FiveThirtyEight’s projection models give SU an 82 percent chance to win. But the two teams had vastly different ends to the season. The Cyclones won five of their last six, including arguably their best win against then-No. 6 Texas, and lost a close game to a ranked Kansas State team in the Big 12 tournament. Meanwhile, the Orange finished the regular season by beating up on some of the worse teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference (beating UNC twice) but was held to a season-low 46 points in its ACC tournament loss to Duke. Factor in Syracuse’s struggles away from home (8-9 record outside of the Carrier Dome) and this game could end up being really close.
Published on March 17, 2017 at 1:51 pm