March Madness: Dyaisha Fair rallies Syracuse past Arizona with personal 11-0 run, sets up showdown with UConn

No. 6 seed Syracuse was on upset alert until the final minutes of Saturday's NCAA tournament opener against No. 11 Arizona.

Then Dyaisha Fair took over.

The All-ACC guard went on a personal 11-0 run in the late stages of the fourth quarter to secure a 74-69 win for Syracuse, the program's first NCAA tournament win since 2021. The victory denied Arizona a fifth straight trip to the second round of tournament play.

The Wildcats put the Orange on upset alert early, opening up a 21-15 lead in the first quarter. They led by as many as nine points in the first half and entered halftime with a 37-32 lead before Syracuse fought back to tie things up in the third. The teams entered the fourth tied at 51 and engaged in a back-and-forth battle down the stretch.

Arizona appeared to retake control with a 64-59 lead with 4:01 remaining. But the Orange battled back from there. With Syracuse trailing 66-65 in the final two minutes, Fair pulled up for a transition 3-pointer to put the Orange back on top.

An offensive foul on the other end secured possession for the Orange. The result was another Fair bucket to extend Syracuse's lead to 70-66.

Two free throws on Syracuse's ensuing possession extended that lead again to 72-66 with 32 seconds remaining.

When the game was done, Fair scored the last 13 points for Syracuse in a 32-point effort. She shot 11 of 22 from the field including a 4-of-11 effort from 3-point distance. Fair flustered Arizona on defense as well, tallying a game-high six steals as the Orange turned the Wildcats over 21 times.

Arizona's Skylar Jones countered Fair with a team-high 24 points alongside six rebounds, five assists and three steals. But the Wildcats couldn't hold on as Syracuse won the possession battle via a 37-32 rebounding margin and 21-17 edge in forced turnovers.

Fair continues to climb all-time scoring list

The standout effort was the latest in a sensational career for Fair, who entered Saturday as the fifth-leading scorer in NCAA Division I women's history. Saturday's tally put her at 3,383 career points, 10 points behind Jackie Stiles and 19 behind Kelsey Mitchell who stand above her on the all-time scoring list. She could very well come out of her next game ranked third.

Fair, a fifth-year senior, entered Saturday averaging 23.6 points per game. She played her first three seasons at Buffalo before transferring to Syracuse last season. She's averaged at least 22.2 points per game in each of her three seasons.

The Orange advance to face UConn on Monday in a rematch of the 2016 national championship game.