WBB : Orange offense breaks out in 51-point victory over Niagara

first_imgQuentin Hillsman didn’t need to think twice. After watching his team have one of its best all-around offensive games, crash the boards and buckle down defensively, Hillsman could confidently say it was likely the best Syracuse has played all season.‘We played a very good basketball game,’ Hillsman said in a phone interview after the game. ‘We just wanted to come out and be physical, and be aggressive in the paint and do the things we do, which is rebound the basketball and score points in the paint. We did a very good job of that.’In the type of shooting performance the Orange (10-4, 0-1 Big East) has been looking for all season, SU thrashed Niagara 81-30 Thursday night in front of 764 inside the Carrier Dome. The Orange scored 53 points in the first half, the most it has scored in a half all season. Syracuse shot 25-of-58 (43.1 percent) from the field, and outrebounded the Purple Eagles 54-30. While the Orange found its shooting stroke, Niagara (3-9) struggled mightily on offense, and finished the game having shot a meager 12-of-59 (20 percent).The 51-point victory was the largest margin of victory for SU since its 90-31 rout of Bryant last season.Center Kayla Alexander dominated the low post for Syracuse, scoring 20 points while also grabbing 12 rebounds, taking advantage of her four-inch height advantage over Purple Eagles center Val McQuade.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textHillsman credited Alexander’s quickness in the low post with her strong performance, and said her ability to elude the Niagara defense going to the hoop helped her take over.‘They did a very good job of pushing off the block,’ Hillsman said. ‘She did a very good job of catching, and then turning around and making very solid moves.’Niagara jumped out to an early 3-2 lead after a 3-pointer from McQuade, but SU then went on a 16-0 run to go up 18-3, and the Purple Eagles never got close for the rest of the game.After struggling to find an alternative way to score other than relying on Alexander all season, SU finally shot well from beyond the arc, draining 3-of-5 3-pointers. Guards Carmen Tyson-Thomas, Rachel Coffey and La’Shay Taft each had one apiece.Tyson-Thomas finished the game with 15 points, and had 13 rebounds to notch her 12th double-double of her career and third this season.‘That was one of the things, we wanted to shoot a good percentage from the field and we wanted to take care of the basketball,’ Hillsman said. ‘Our goal with turnovers, we missed it by a couple, but we still did a very good job.’The Orange finished with 17 turnovers, one of its best games it has had in that category in its 14 games this year.Defensively, Syracuse managed to get 15 steals and nine blocks. All told, Syracuse dominated both ends of the floor in the type of game Hillsman and the Orange have been looking to put together all year.‘You want to play well, and we definitely played very, very well tonight,’ Hillsman said. ‘We’re playing good basketball going into Big East, and we’ll look to continue that on New Year’s Eve.’SU has one more game before it returns to conference play, when the level of competition will increase significantly. For now, though, Hillsman said his team’s confidence is increasing with seemingly every win.And in playing at home for the first time in 19 days, the Orange finally had a superlative win.‘It’s very good to get back home. We do well here. We had a very good crowd here. It was good to get home. I was very pleased with the support from the crowd, and I hope we can get the same thing on New Year’s Eve.’cjiseman@syr.edu  Published on December 29, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Chris: cjiseman@syr.edu | @chris_iseman Commentscenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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