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Syracuse’s full-court press thrives, offense capitalizes in balanced blowout of Central Connecticut State

first_img Published on December 30, 2014 at 10:42 pm Contact Sam: [email protected] | @SamBlum3 Briana Day scoured over the stat sheet in front of her.On it were 28 forced turnovers, four players who scored in double figures, 19 fast-break points and a career-high seven blocks for herself.She had only been asked about the team’s overall defense during the postgame press conference, but the box score showed evidence of Syracuse’s most complete game of the season.“I’m impressed,” she said with a smile on her face.No. 21 Syracuse (10-3) wrapped up its nonconference season in convincing fashion, routing Central Connecticut State (4-7) 74-43 in the Carrier Dome on Tuesday night in front of 508 fans. Eleven players scored for the Orange, which was a season-high, and six players recorded a steal. And SU head coach Quentin Hillsman, who always dwells on areas of improvement, had relatively little to complain about.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“We’ve had moments where we were a little unstable with our lineups or our players on the floor,” Hillsman said, “but for the first time I can honestly say that we have our team.“… We’re going to be a really good basketball team.”Syracuse did what it’s always done to get wins. Score, and then press. On Tuesday, that formula was simple.It started with Syracuse up 9-2 and the Blue Devils inbounding on the sideline. Point guard Alexis Peterson tipped away the pass and drove it up the court for an uncontested layup.It finished when guard Cornelia Fondren picked off a pass in the backcourt, dribbled up the floor until the last second before dumping it off to wide-open guard Danielle Minott, who put in an easy two points before being fouled hard on her way down by CCSU’s Kaley Watras. Her free throw made it 64-38 with 5:35 left in the game.The Blue Devils had cut the Orange’s lead to just six with 2:55 left in the first half, but SU closed out the frame with a 10-0 run and pulled away effortlessly after the break. In total there were 32 points off turnovers for the Orange, which was relentless in its transition offense.“Together as a team we are coming together,” SU guard Brittney Sykes said. “This is one of the most complete gams we’ve had. … We were just trying to work as a team together in the press.”Syracuse had been shooting nearly 27 3-point attempts per game coming into Tuesday night. But against CCSU, it shot only 18.Hillsman, who is normally a proponent of shooting at any open opportunity said that there weren’t many to take. The Orange did such a good job in transition that it was getting more high-percentage shots as well as getting to the line.The 43 percent shooting from the field was SU’s third-highest on the season.“When you’re turning people over, obviously you have numbers in transition,” Hillsman said. “You’re able to attack the rim a little bit more.”Hillsman said that he didn’t think his team came back from the Christmas break as polished as he’d like it to be. In the first two practices, the players were “out of sync.” In the first half against Cornell, it was the same.On Tuesday morning, just hours before taking on the Blue Devils, Hillsman ran a practice. He said he wanted to make sure his team was ready and not taking anything for granted in its final matchup before hosting No. 4 Notre Dame on Sunday.“I felt going into our last game that we just wasn’t ready,” Hillsman said. “That was my fault. So I took the opportunity to get us ready.“I think that this game shows that we got ready.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more