Florida state

Observations from SU’s loss to Florida State: Improved rebound, 3-point shot

Get the latest news from Syracuse delivered straight to your inbox.
Subscribe to our sports newsletter here.

Syracuse’s last two road wins have each been decided by his free-throw shooting. But upon returning to the Carrier Dome, that streak ended when the Orange dropped another crucial Atlantic Coast Conference battle. Orange’s shooting improved after their worst shooting performance of the season against Pittsburgh.

But Syracuse (11-13, 4-10 Atlantic Coast) lost control of the paint as the game went on, falling to Florida State (13-11, 7-7 ACC), 73-67. The Orange, led by Teisha Hyman’s double-double and Chrislyn Carr’s seven field goals, kept the game close early. But as the game progressed and its rebound became dull as usual, SU once again fell to a higher ranked ACC opponent.

Here are three observations from Syracuse’s loss to FSU:

3 improve, but not enough

Syracuse weren’t foul on any shots in the first quarter, giving them no choice but to generate their score from the field. In fact, he missed his only free throw of the first half. But once Najé Murray scored his first 3 – the team’s first too – by waving three fingers in the air while sticking his tongue out, it was obvious the Orange had regained their confidence deep down.

Murray has been kept below 10 points for three straight losses, scoring just two field goals in each game. After that, Murray scored 11 points on the road against Notre Dame, and his point total has since risen over the next four games, including a career-high 24 points against Virginia.

But against Pittsburgh, she was held scoreless for just the third time in her career — the first time at Syracuse. Murray missed all seven of her 3-pointers, the third time this season she couldn’t convert from deep. Christianna Carr missed a 3-pointer from the right wing, and Florida State’s Sammie Puisis returned it to hit a 3 on her side to give the Seminoles nine points. Then, on Syracuse’s next possession, Christianna redeemed herself with a 3-pointer from the same spot, bringing the Orange down six points.

Without that 3, Syracuse would have been in double digits early on. Orange only made three 3s in the second half against four in the first.

Improved rebound ignites SU’s transition game

Syracuse entered the game as the 20th-worst rebounding team in the nation by total rebound rate, having grabbed just an average of 44.9% of their boards, according to HerHoop Stats. His defensive rebound percentage — the sixth-worst nationally — sits at just over 60%. Florida State, on the other hand, grabbed 53.7% of its rebounds.

With eight defensive boards in the first 10 minutes, Syracuse limited Florida State to just two offensive rebounds. And as the two teams went on a nearly five-minute scoreless run in the second quarter, the Orange were able to offset another flurry of inconsistent shooting by continuing to secure defensive rebounds. This limited a similarly sized Seminoles team to just six offensive rebounds and four second-chance points at halftime.

In return, Syracuse kicked off their transition game, scoring 11 first-half points on the fastbreak. Led by Hyman and Alaysia Styles with six and four defensive rebounds respectively at the break, the Orange were able to use their fast weapons, like Chrislyn, to transition quickly, catching the Seminoles off guard. Murray got a defensive rebound after a missed 3 from Kourtney Weber and immediately threw a ball into FSU’s end to Chrislyn for an open layup, giving SU a narrow one-point lead midway through the second quarter.

In the third quarter, however, Syracuse’s rebound was led by Hyman, who grabbed five of SU’s nine rebounds this quarter. The Orange, after coming back to their zone 2-3, gave Florida State more room inside to score their 12 points in the paint, while the Orange only managed six. But as Syracuse failed to grab the offensive boards, it diminished its already under-the-radar performance in the paint, where the Seminoles ultimately won the game.

Zone defense opens the paint

Syracuse played a tighter, almost man-to-man defense in the first half, and it paid off. His rebound improved, as the Orange stayed in the game by following the defensive boards. They also recorded double-digit interceptions for the 13th time this season.

Early on, Syracuse was able to convert the Seminoles’ turnovers to score 22 points in transition, led mostly by Chrislyn. But later in the game, as the Orange defense opened up, it led to more second-chance plays for Florida State that ultimately diminished any final calls for a late comeback, like the one against Pittsburgh.

After a poor pass roll from Alaina Rice who tried to return it for Chrislyn, Sara Bejedi missed a jumper that was rebounded by River Baldwin, who ripped it out of Murray’s hands. Then, FSU’s Erin Howard’s missed layup as the shot clock expired and the ball was again picked up by Baldwin, resulting in a personal foul on Chrislyn. Then, on the Seminoles’ incoming play, Howard scored a layup to put the Seminoles up 12 with two minutes left.