Give Felisha Legette-Jack a lot of credit. The first-year Syracuse women’s coach brought a power-conference team into John J. Lee Amphitheater to do battle with Yale.
And the Orange escaped with a 60-58 win.
Yale (4-5) dominated the first half, building a 17-8 lead by the 3:53 mark, holding Syracuse (6-2) to 3-for-16 shooting from the field and converting on three of trey attempts. Yale controlled the tempo and forced Syracuse into a slower style of play.
The hosts continued their domination in the second quarter, racing out to a 13-point lead at the 6:46 mark on a Jenna Clark layup. Yale closed the half up 37-25, fueled by eight points from Kiley Capstraw. Yale was 16-for-32 from the field and 5-for-12 on threes. Syracuse was only 6-for-24. Nine Yale players scored in the half.
Syracuse started the second half with a smaller line-up and was only down by three at 3:00 on a trey by Orange senior guard Dyaisha Fair. Yale led 45-42 heading into the last stanza.
The Orange took a 56-54 lead at 4:45 on another Fair triple, and Yale knotted it at 56 on a Klara Astrom layup.
Syracuse led at 60-58 with 36 seconds remaining. Yale had chances to win or tie, but Astrom and Mackenzie Egger both missed from close range.
“Our approach (at the end) was playing not to lose the game, instead of playing to win the game,” Yale coach Dalila Eshe said.
Astrom led Yale with 15 points off the bench.
This is a solid Yale team, still trying to find its identity without its top player, Camilla Emsbo, who is out for the season due to injury.
Yale is next in action at nearby Quinnipiac Wednesday.