Sipaviciute leads Syracuse to victory

Vaida Sipaviciute was a force inside.

Sipaviciute accounted for nearly half of Syracuse’s offense, netting a career-high 21 points including the go-ahead basket with 1:13 left as Syracuse edged Villanova, 45-42, Saturday afternoon at Manley Field House.

Sipaviciute, who made just her sixth career start, used a variety of low-post moves to baffle and frustrate Villanova.

“There’s nobody that works harder than (Sipaviciute) on this team in terms of time that she’s putting in,” head coach Keith Cieplicki said. “I give a lot of credit to her teammates, too. They’re believing in her.”

With Syracuse (11-8, 3-5 Big East) trailing 43-42 with 1:13 left, Coleman lobbed the ball to Sipaviciute. The center – who had missed six-straight shots at that point – calmly turned around and banked in the shot, giving Syracuse its first lead in more than eight minutes.

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Okafor in ’05

Melvin Ely throws his head back until his cornrows reach the nape of his neck. He begins to laugh as Emeka Okafor pokes his head into the locker room.

“Okafor in 04?” Ely says. “Nah. 04’s over man. Okafor in 05.”

Okafor, who is in the middle of his pre-game routine, hardly acknowledges Ely’s endorsement. Okafor grins briefly, gives a quick glance at the media that has collected in the locker room, shrugs, and continues with his workout.

During the month leading up to the start of the NBA season, the Bobcat marketing team peppered Okafor’s face on billboards and commercials around Charlotte. The signs read “Okafor in 04!” On television, Bobcats’ commercials concluded with the power forward saying, “I’m Emeka Okafor and I approved this commercial.”

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