ANCHORAGE – The backcourt combo of Erica Morrow and Chandrea Jones accounted for 46 points and nine assists Tuesday to lead Syracuse to an 85-74 win over Jackson State in the first round of the women’s Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout at Sullivan Arena.
Forward Juanita Ward came off the bench to score 11 points for the Orange (4-1), who will meet host Alaska Anchorage (6-1) in Wednesday’s 5 p.m. AST championship game.
The Lady Tigers (0-3) got a game-high 26 points from guard DeQuisha Davis in the losing effort. The Southwestern Athletic Conference squad will take on Cal State Northridge (0-5) in Wednesday’s 2:30 p.m. consolation tilt.
The game was a tight battle through most of the first half before the Orange closed with a 9-2 run to take a 36-29 lead at the break.
JSU sliced its deficit to just 45-40 on a pair of free throws from Eboni Ross (11 assists) with 15:18 to play, but Syracuse answered with a 13-4 run to push its lead back to double digits.
After the Mississippians drew within six points with under 7 minutes left, the New Yorkers then got a three-pointer from Lina Lisnere and back-to-back layups from Jones and Morrow to put the game out of reach.
Jones was named Carrs/Safeway Player of the Game with 22 points (8-16 FG, 2-5 3FG, 4-5 FT), a game-high nine rebounds, four assists and three steals. Morrow, meanwhile, accounted for 24 points (9-22 FG, 5-12 3FG), five rebounds, five assists and four steals.
The Orange outrebounded the Lady Tigers 40-31 and forced them into 30 turnovers.
As a Shootout newcomer, Syracuse will be aiming for its first title when it takes on Alaska Anchorage on Wednesday, while the Seawolves will try to capture the championship for the third straight year and the fifth time in 29 women’s tourneys.