Syracuse came into this game extremely short-handed due to suspensions and injuries. Add to that it being their third game in three days so it seemed like the Cards might have an easy afternoon. However despite a double-digit win it always felt like the Orange were within reach. The Cards held strong though and ended up winning the game by a respectable 72-59 score.
Dana Evans continued to struggle with her scoring. She finished the game with 13 but her first came with about 4 minutes left in the first half and she was 0 of 5 from the 3-point line. Norika Konno came up big off the bench with 10 points. Olivia Cochran had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Coach Walz praised Norika after the game: “I keep telling her that I believe in her more than she believes in herself. She’s got a very high basketball IQ.... Defensively there were one or two possessions where she got switched up on [Kamilla] Cardoso and did a great job of not allowing her to get the rebound.”
He also addressed Dana’s slump: “These past two games she hasn’t shot the ball as well as she normally does but today she gets 3 assists and 1 turnover and then the rest of them stepped up and played big. You know we’ve got a very good team. I know some of us at the ACC Network might not agree with that because they say it’s Dana and then a bunch of scrubs but you know that’s where they’re wrong.” He added, “When Dana doesn’t play well we’re still able to win. There are just games where she takes over that she can dominate. When she’s on it’s pretty darn impressive.”
Dana also praised her teammates: “I feel like they never get as much credit as they should so seeing them now get credit means a lot because they put in the work. They stay extra and put up extra shots and it’s all paying off when we really need it. Honestly this could really be a blessing not having me play my best ball but we’re still winning.” She added, “I know I need to step it up for our next game but having teammates like that around me makes me feel a lot better and takes the pressure off of me.”
The Cards will play the winner of NC State and Georgia Tech in the ACC championship game tomorrow at noon on ESPN2.