SYRACUSE, N.Y. - The Saint Joseph's women's basketball team had its eight-game win streak snapped a a layup by Syracuse' Brittney Sykes at the buzzer lifted the #23 Orange past the Hawks, 64-62, Saturday afternoon at the Carrier Dome.
Tied at 60-60 with two minutes to play, Syracuse' Sykes hit a pair of free throws with 44 seconds remaining to put the Orange up 62-60.
On the following SJU possession, junior Natasha Cloud drove down the lane for a floating layup to tie the game at 62 all with 21 seconds to go.
After a Syracuse (11-1) timeout, the Orange worked the ball to Sykes at the top of the key. With seconds ticking down, Sykes drove down the right side, avoided a shot block by the Hawks' Sarah Fairbanks and released a layup as the clocked hit zero to give her team the win.
The Hawks (9-2) got out to a quick start in the first half, jumping out to a 13-2 advantage on a three-pointer by Erin Shields at 16:40. Saint Joseph's would continue to push the pace, opening a 14-point lead, 21-7, just under eight minutes in as Shields scored 12 of game-high 21 points in the opening 10 minutes.
The Orange would rally though, using a 24-5 run to make it a 31-26 game on three-pointer Briana Butler at 1:45. Syracuse's defense held the Hawks to just 4-of-13 from the field and caused seven turnovers over the final 12 minutes, with a pair of free throws' by SJU's Natasha Cloud with seven seconds cutting the deficit to 31-28 at halftime.
Again Saint Joseph's took momentum to start the half, using a 15-2 run to begin the second stanza. The Hawks, keyed by back-to-back three-pointers by Kelsey Berger, hit 6-of-8 from the field to start the period as a baseline jumper by Sarah Fairbanks put them up by 10, 45-35, at 15:46.
The Orange would not back down though, fighting back to regain the lead, on a three-pointer by Rachel Coffey with under four minutes to go.
Syracuse would push its lead to 60-57, but a three-pointer from the left wing by Shields tied the game at 2:20, leading to the frantic finish.
For the game, the Hawks shot 34.4 percent overall (22-of-64), 43.5 percent from three-point range (10-of-23) and hit 8-of-9 from the foul line.
Individually, Shields matched her season-high with seven three-pointers, going 7-of-12 from behind the arc and adding seven steals, while Fairbanks added 14 points and eight rebounds. Cloud matched her career-high with 13 assists and finished with seven points. Berger and senior Ilze Gotfrida added nine points apiece, while redshirt junior Ashley Robinson added two points to round out the scoring.
At the other end, the Orange shot 30.9 percent (21-of-68), 26.3 percent from behind the arc (5-of-19) and 17-of-17 from the foul line, while outrebounding SJU 56-34. Sykes' 20 points led three Orange in double figures.
Saint Joseph's returns to action at Florida Gulf Coast on December 29 at 6 p.m.