first_img Published on March 16, 2018 at 7:03 pm Contact Andrew: [email protected] | @A_E_Graham No. 8 seed Syracuse (22-8, 10-6 Atlantic Coast) opens the NCAA Tournament against No. 9 seed Oklahoma State (20-10, 11-7 Big 12) on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. EST at Humphrey Coliseum in Starkville, Mississippi. The game will be televised on ESPN2.The Orange is coming off a tough loss in the first round of the ACC Tournament where Virginia Tech went on an epic 31-5 run and the Orange didn’t make a shot in the fourth quarter. The Cowgirls were ousted in the second round of the Big 12 tournament by West Virginia, 69-60.Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the matchup.All-time series: This is the two teams’ first meeting.The Oklahoma State report: Oklahoma State scores in bunches, led by a two-headed guard-center monster.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textLeading OSU’s high-octane offense is graduate transfer point guard Loryn Goodwin, who averages 20.9 points per game, 18th in the nation, and averages 5.3 assists to supplement that scoring. Goodwin also has five 30-plus point outings this season. She is a dominant scorer and has the ability to get hot and torch the Orange.But the Cowgirls’ attack isn’t one-dimensional as 6-foot-4 senior center Kaylee Jensen is a double-double machine with 18 on the season, good for eighth nationally. She’s averaging 18.6 points and 10.8 rebounds, presenting a defensive challenge for Syracuse’s young frontcourt.The inside-out combo of Goodwin and Jensen is the staple of OSU’s offense. The two combine to average nearly 40 points, 17 rebounds and 7 assists a game. The duo represents more than half of OSU’s per-game scoring output (78.9 points).How Syracuse beats OSU: SU needs to get hot from 3 and slow down Goodwin and Jensen.Syracuse is seventh in the country in 3-pointers attempted (930) and ninth in makes per game from deep (9.7). SU loving the 3 ball is no secret, and head coach Quentin Hillsman has said explicitly he wants the Orange to fire from long range as much as possible.This means SU’s shooters — paging Gabrielle Cooper and Miranda Drummond — can’t disappear. Oklahoma State is going to push and run and score, and SU will need contributions from its best shooters. Efficient performances from Tiana Mangakahia and Digna Strautmane from behind the arc would also go a long way in setting SU up to win.Stopping Goodwin and Jensen entirely may be out of the question, but SU has faced a similar guard-big combo in No. 4 Louisville’s Asia Durr and Myisha Hines-Allen. Those two combined for 46 points against the Orange. Goodwin and Jensen aren’t quite the same-caliber players, but they will beat SU if the Orange doesn’t pay enough defensive attention to the duo.Stat to know: 3Oklahoma State has only won three NCAA Tournament games as the lower-seeded team, going 3-10 in those contests. The Orange, meanwhile, is 4-0 in its last four Round of 64 games.Player to watch: Kaylee Jensen, center, No. 54While the Goodwin-Mangakahia duel might turn into appointment television, Jensen could be the player to sneakily send SU packing. The Orange has played against top-level guards like Goodwin all season — Morgan William (Mississippi State), Asia Durr (Louisville) and Lexie Brown (Duke), to name a few — but has rarely encountered a force like Jensen down low. A strong defensive outing from 6-foot-4 freshman Amaya Finklea-Guity could be the key to an SU win. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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