HARTFORD, CONN., Syracuse University Athletics – The No. 24/21 Syracuse women's basketball team was eliminated from the 2013 BIG EAST Tournament after falling to No. 2 Connecticut, 64-51, at the XL Center in the semifinal round. Senior Kayla Alexander's team-high 14 points helped her reach 2,000 career points, becoming the first Orange to reach the milestone in Syracuse history. Alexander also led SU in rebounding with six boards.
The Orange (24-7) will await the NCAA Selection Show on Monday, March 18 at 7 p.m. on ESPN.
SU's semifinal appearance was the furthest that the Orange has advanced in the tournament since 2002. The Orange's No. 3 seed this season was its highest since being No. 1 in 1988 and tied for the second-best in program history with 1986 and 1987.
Senior Elashier Hall scored nine points and grabbed five rebounds while leading the team in steals with two. FreshmanBrianna Butler recorded eight points and two rebounds.
The Orange shot 41.2 percent from behind the 3-point line, making seven 3-pointers against the Huskies. Syracuse forced 17 Connecticut turnovers and outscored the Huskies, 22-18, in the paint.
The Huskies had four players score in double-digits, with Breanna Stewart and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis each recording a team-high 14-points. Kelly Farris led Connecticut in rebounding, with 12 grabs.
The score remained close in the opening minutes of the semifinal game. After Brittney Sykes made a layup on SU's first offensive possession, Connecticut scored six-straight points to jump to an early 6-2 lead. Another 6-0 run for Connecticut had the Huskies up 15-7.
Rachel Coffey's back-to-back 3-point baskets would put the Orange within four of the Huskie's 17-13 lead at 13:37. A layup by Alexander now had SU within two of Connecticut.
Connecticut would pull away, scoring seven straight points in 2:44. The Orange would cut its deficit to 29-22 with 6:45 left in the first half after Coffey found Shakeya Leary on the block and Leary made her layup.
Sykes stopped an 8-0 UConn run with a transition basket off of an assist from Coffey at 3:44 and the Orange was down, 37-24. A layup by Brenna Stewart gave the Huskie's a 39-24 lead heading into halftime.
Alexander was the only Orange to score in the beginning of the second half until Carmen Tyson-Thomas pulled the Orange within 13 points at 13:19, 46-33. Alexander went 4-for-5 from the free line throw line and added a layup in the first 6:41 of the second half.
A layup by Hall started a 7-0 run for SU which included another 3-pointer by Tyson-Thomas. Syracuse started to gain momentum, cutting Connecticut's lead to single digits at 11:36, 49-40.
With 9:27 left to go, Butler hit her second 3-point shot of the night. The Orange and Huskies continued to trade baskets and two-straight buckets by Hall put the score at 61-49.
After sinking both free throws of a 1-and-1 opportunity at 1:40, Alexander hit the 2,000 point mark in her career.
Connecticut finished the contest with three-straight baskets, recording the 64-51 victory to advance to the championship game. Connecticut will face Notre Dame in the championship game tomorrow. The Irish advanced following an 83-59 win against Louisville.