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ACC update: Sharpshooting Dyaisha Fair makes the Syracuse Orange a legitimate threat

The Syracuse Orange are 7-1 and it’s because of the stellar play and year-to-year improvement of Dyaisha Fair.

Syracuse v Virginia Tech
Syracuse fifth-year guard Dyaisha Fair is shooting fantastically from 3 to begin the 2023-24 season.
Photo by Ryan Hunt/Getty Images

With almost a month of NCAAW basketball behind us, it’s time to recap some of the ACC’s finest. Conference play is around the corner, but here’s a look at some teams who have looked very impressive since the last update:

Miami Hurricanes (7-0, 0-0 ACC)

If you’re wondering what team has the best defense in the ACC so far, it’s the Miami Hurricanes. Miami is a very methodical team that capitalizes on the mistakes of their opponents. Steals don’t automatically equate to great defense, but the Hurricanes have five players averaging a steal per game.

The Hurricanes have broken out a full-court press in a few of their games to disrupt the flow of their opponents’s offense—a big reason why they have a 74 defensive rating this season.

As for offense, Miami has looked impressive, despite not really having a primary scoring option. The Hurricanes do a great job using motion, dribble handoffs and even low post touches to generate good offense. While you don’t expect an inside-out attack to lead to great offense, the Hurricanes have made it work.

Syracuse Orange (7-1, 0-0 ACC)

Dyaisha Fair has been spectacular for the Syracuse Orange this season. The fifth-year guard has gradually improved every year. Even though her scoring has dropped slightly over the course of her college career, her efficiency has drastically improved.

As a freshman at Buffalo, she averaged 22 points per game, but only shot 31 percent from 3 and 72 percent from the free throw line. Even last year, she was only shooting 36 percent from 3 and 82 percent from the line. But this season, she is averaging 18 points on a mind-boggling 44 percent on seven 3-point attempts per game and 94 percent from the free throw line. Amongst all NCAAW players attempting at least seven 3s per game, Fair is sixth in 3-point percentage.

Since transferring to Syracuse from Buffalo before the 2022-23 season, Fair has put the Orange on her back. They have looked impressive to start the season, with their only loss being to then-No. 20 Maryland by two points.

Louisville Cardinals (8-1, 0-0 ACC)

Heading into this season, there were a lot of questions about how the Louisville Cardinals would look without Hailey Van Lith and the other graduated players that played big roles. There’s no doubt the Cardinals have been better than expected this season.

At this point last season, the Cardinals had already lost four games, three of which were to unranked non-Power 5 schools. This season, the Cardinals are perfect in non-Power 5 play, only narrowly losing to Alabama.

Senior big Olivia Cochran has stepped up, leading the Cardinals in rebounds, steals and blocks. Fifth-year guard Kiki Jefferson is leading the Cardinals in scoring; she’s been very efficient, despite scoring efficiency being an overall weakness for this team. Experience is going to be huge for the Cardinals this season as they have six seniors, the second most of any team in the ACC.