March 4, 2013
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) - Freshman Brittney Sykes and senior Kayla Alexander each scored 16 points and No. 24 Syracuse snapped a late-season swoon, beating 13th-ranked Louisville 68-57 on Monday night.
The victory snapped a three-game losing streak for Syracuse (23-6, 11-5 Big East) and gave the Orange the third seed and a double-bye for the Big East tournament as they seek their first NCAA bid since 2008.
The Orange are seeded behind Notre Dame and Connecticut, while Louisville (23-7, 11-5) dropped to the fourth spot and fell to 1-4 against ranked teams, also losing to Kentucky, UConn and Notre Dame. Louisville will also get a double-bye in the conference tournament.
Syracuse, coming off its first defeat at home this season, a 77-75 triple-overtime loss to Villanova Saturday, finished 13-1 in the Carrier Dome.
Senior Carmen Tyson-Thomas had 10 points and 12 rebounds and senior Elashier Hall added 10 points and six steals.
Syracuse broke open a tight game with a pressing defense and some clutch outside shooting.
After Shoni Schimmel hit an open 3 to tie the game at 34 early in the second half, a three-point play by Alexander and Cornelia Fondren's driving layup - her only shot of the game - gave Syracuse a 39-38 lead and began a 19-4 spurt that sank the Cardinals.
Alexander's layup and Tyson-Thomas's 3 off a nice feed from Fondren stretched the lead to 44-38. Rachel Coffey followed with another 3, Tyson-Thomas hit a foul-line jumper and Hall swished a 3 from the wing to boost the lead to 53-38 with 8:44 left.
The Cardinals made it close at the end, closing to 60-56 after a pair of 3s by Shoni Schimmel and a layup by Jude Schimmel as Syracuse misfired at the free-throw line. That was as close as the Cardinals came as the Orange hit six free throws and Alexander converted a layup in the final 63 seconds.
Syracuse, the league's best defender against the 3-point shot, was victimized early by the Cardinals as Slaughter hit her first two tries from behind the arc, giving Louisville an early 8-3 lead.
That was a sign of things to come for both sides in the first half. After Syracuse erased a five-point deficit with an 11-5 spurt keyed by 3-pointers from Hall, Tyson-Thomas and Brianna Butler, Shoni Schimmel responded with two 3-pointers in the final 88 seconds to give the Cardinals a 29-27 halftime lead.
Louisville was 5 of 14 (35.7 percent) and Syracuse 5 of 11 (45.5 percent) from beyond the arc in the opening period. The Orange entered the game allowing just 26.8 percent, while Louisville was second in the league at 28 percent.
The Cardinals finished 8 of 32 and the Orange were 8 of 22 from long range. Syracuse also dominated the glass, outrebounding Louisville 47-34 and held a 17-7 edge in second-chance points.