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Nurse hits 9 3-pointers to lead UConn over Syracuse 94-64
21 March 2017, 10:32 | Todd Saunders
James Lang-USA TODAY Sports
"I can't be getting in and crying about my seed".
As a result, the Orange now move onto the second round to take on the UConn Huskies who they played in the National Championship a year ago and lost 82-51. The Cyclones have since lost in the first now three times and missed the tournament last season. And the questions and answers during Sunday's news conferences involving the coaches and players made it seem a little Final Four-like, in fact.
Sykes expects Syracuse to be ready for UConn. She scored a game-high 28 points, while her backcourt mate Alexis Peterson finished with 25 points.
"For not having the best backcourt in the country, we've had a pretty good year", UConn coach Geno Auriemma quipped. "They were really good".
See something entertaining on social media that you think deserves to be shared? You're supposed to feel like you can win every game. Unfortunately. Kids check the scoreboard sometimes because they're going to get yelled at if they don't score enough points.
"I told Gabby right before the game started, 'You watched from the stands past year us go to the national championship, now you're a part of it", Sykes said.
"We didn't expect to be going home", said Syracuse Coach Quentin Hillsman.
"We have to play hard for ourselves, no matter who our opponent is", Williams told the Hartford Courant after Saturday's game. He said he and his staff don't recruit players who act that way.
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"We don't ask twice", he said.
And now for the game.
It was the 26th straight NCAA tournament win for Auriemma. When you're shooting the three-ball that well you don't stop, and that's exactly what the Orange did.
While Gabby Williams typically thrives in the post for the Huskies, Auriemma found a different role for the versatile forward.
Syracuse is not shy about touting the talent of senior guards Brittany Sykes and Alexis Peterson. Iowa State almost equaled its entire first-half output with 23 points in the third quarter, but the Orange kept pace and led 67-47 entering the fourth. Their win streak, which reached 107 games on March 7, is unprecedented, upending the NCAA record that the school had earlier set of 90 wins, which surpassed the UCLA Men's record established from 1971 to 1974. Exactly two weeks to the day from Katie Lou Samuelson's record-setting three-point game, junior Kia Nurse put together a sparkling performance of her own.
Syracuse is ranked 21st in the nation and defeated four ranked teams during the season, including then-No. Chong not only led UConn in assists but she was part of the fourth class in UConn history to go four seasons without losing a game at Gampel Pavilion.
"Our ball movement was incredible", said Auriemma. "Our guys had to learn on the job this year". It was over from the tip as the Orange quickly took a lead they would never relinquish.
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