Dixon has 18, No. 4 Louisville overwhelms Syracuse 100-64
Feb 5, 2022, 9:25 PM | Updated: Feb 6, 2022, 12:27 pm
(AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Liz Dixon scored a season-high 18 points and Kianna Smith had 16, helping No. 4 Louisville beat Syracuse 100-64 on Sunday.
Louisville (21-2, 11-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) has won six straight since a 68-59 loss at then-No. 4 North Carolina State in late January. Syracuse (9-12, 2-9) has stumbled since a six-game win streak that included a victory over Ohio State, dropping eight of nine.
The teams also met in mid-January, and the game was tied with under 6 minutes to play before Kianna Smith hit a 3-pointer to send the Cardinals on a deciding 15-4 spurt for an 84-71 victory.
This one wasn’t as close.
Louisville grabbed control with a big first quarter, and pulled away during a strong second half. Ahlana Smith had 13 points, and Chelsie Hall and Emily Engstler each finished with 11.
“If you look at our team, we’ve got about seven or eight girls scoring 10 points a game,” Engstler said. “That’s going to be the difference between us and a lot of other teams. … We want to win a national championship.”
Najé Murray led the Orange with 16 points. Chrislyn Carr had 14, and leading scorer Teisha Hyman finished with 10 on 2-of-14 shooting.
Syracuse fell behind 14-4 in the first six minutes, and it was an uphill struggle from there as the Cardinals dominated the boards and spread the ball around. Hall made a layup and a 3-pointer from the left wing, and Kianna Smith followed with another 3 for the 10-point lead.
The Cardinals finished the first quarter up 30-17, outrebounding the Orange 15-5 and racking up 11 assists on 12 baskets. They finished with a 55-26 edge on the boards and shot 53.2%.
“They exploit things that most teams probably won’t do. That’s what makes them good,” Murray said. “They’re an offense that’s going to make defenses look not so great.”
Syracuse got within nine on two free throws by Hyman early in the third before the Cardinals pulled away for good.
During Louisville’s six-game win streak, the Cardinals are averaging 80 points and shooting nearly 50% from the floor and over 42% from beyond the arc. They are 14-0 this season when scoring 70-plus points and are 56-0 the past three seasons when scoring more than 70.
Engstler, a key player for the Orange last season before transferring to Louisville, is the third leading scorer (11) and top rebounder (8.5) for the Cardinals. Entering Sunday’s game, she also led the team with 55 steals and 35 blocks. She finished with 10 rebounds for a double-double in her return to the Carrier Dome.
Louisville: The Cardinals’ lone losses have been to then-No. 22 Arizona in overtime in mid-November and to North Carolina State last month. They’ll be a tough matchup and a high seed in the postseason with visions of a Final Four. Louisville is 5-5 all-time at the Carrier Dome and 3-1 since joining the ACC.
Syracuse: The Orange haven’t been able to find that winning formula since their winning streak. The blowout loss won’t help their collective psyche.
Louisville is at Virginia on Thursday night.
Syracuse is at Virginia on Tuesday night.
More AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25
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