Syracuse worked the entire season to earn at least one home game in the NCAA tournament. It took only one day for the Orange to get the right to host another.
Junior guard Tiana Mangakahia had 21 points and 11 assists to lead third-seeded Syracuse to a 70-49 win over 14th-seeded Fordham in a first-round NCAA Tournament game in the Portland region played at Syracuse on Saturday.
The Orange advanced to host sixth-seeded South Dakota State in a round of 32 game on Monday.
Syracuse trailed 15-14 after the first quarter but started to establish control in the second quarter.
The Orange scored the first 14 points of the second quarter to take a 28-15 lead with 7:37 left in the first half, and built their lead to 38-21 with 2:13 left in the second quarter before taking a 38-27 lead into halftime.
Fordham did hold firm in the third quarter, cutting the Syracuse lead to seven at 49-42 with 2:28 left in the session. They trailed by single digits at 51-42 heading into the fourth quarter.
But Syracuse delivered the knockout blow in the first three minutes of the fourth, going on a 12-3 run over the first 2:36 of the fourth quarter to take a 63-45 lead with 7:24 remaining in the game.
Syracuse built its lead to as many as 23 at 70-47 with 1:28 remaining in the game.
Junior guard Gabrielle Cooper added 13 points for Syracuse, which shot 9 of 14 (64.3 percent) from 3-point range and collected 12 steals.
Freshman guard Kaitlyn Downey scored 15 points in defeat for Fordham (25-9), which was making its third appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
Fordham held a 39-37 rebounding edge over Syracuse, but committed 15 turnovers and shot just 28.6 percent from the field (16 of 56).
—Field Level Media