Syracuse is young and inexperienced, and the Orange are learning some difficult lessons in their first season in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
After a 77-62 loss at No. 6 Maryland on Thursday night, coach Quentin Hillsman was more interested in talking about his team's potential than the particulars of its fourth setback in the last five games.
"I was very proud of my kids," he said. "There were times when we had two freshmen and two sophomores on the floor, and they really played hard. They competed. I feel really good about where we are, really good about our fight."
Syracuse (12-5, 1-3) has stumbled in league play after going 11-2 out of conference, but Hillsman expects things to improve once this team grows up.
"We have babies," he said. "We've played in tough environments, and our kids are really competing and playing hard. As long as they're doing that, we have to live with the outcome. Obviously, we don't like to lose. But I'm really proud of the effort."
Brianna Butler scored 14 and Alexis Peterson had 12 for Syracuse. The Orange got only nine points from leading scorer Brittney Sykes, who came in averaging 17.6 per game.
Syracuse came in leading the ACC with a turnover margin of plus-6.4, but the Orange committed 21 turnovers in this one and forced only nine.
"I think that Maryland is a great defensive basketball team, so that definitely caused trouble for us," Butler said. "But then again, we were also turning the ball over ourselves."
Perhaps that won't happen in the future. At least that's the plan.
"We're a very young team, and we have to gradually continue to grow," Butler said.
Maryland senior Alyssa Thomas had 19 points and 11 rebounds for her 14th double-double of the season, and the Terrapins received 44 points from their reserves. That included a career-high 18 by 6-foot-3 freshman center Brionna Jones.
After letting a 19-point lead shrink to 10 with 14:41 remaining, Maryland used a 13-3 run over the next three minutes to go up 61-41. Jones scored eight points in the surge and Thomas contributed two baskets and a free throw.
Jones' previous career high in points was 11. She also had 10 rebounds.
"My team had my back. We were all working together," Jones said.
The Terrapins forced 13 turnovers and got 24 points from their bench in grabbing a 42-28 halftime lead.
Playing for the first time in a week, Maryland missed 10 of its first 11 shots. But Syracuse failed to take advantage, and the Terrapins went ahead for good when four different players scored in a 10-0 run that made it 18-12.
Following its 1-for-11 start from the floor, Maryland made 13 of its next 17 attempts. Brene Moseley capped the torrid shooting spree with a jumper that put the Terrapins up 31-17.