Syracuse uses 14-0 run in 1st half to cruise to 64-51 win over Washington State
Friday night’s matchup wasn’t the prettiest at times for Syracuse. The Orange committed 20 turnovers and managed only 12 offensive rebounds, well below its season average of over 18.
But a team can encounter many challenges over winter break, and SU coach Quentin Hillsman will take a win any way he can get it.
“This time of year, we’ve got Christmas time and our players are going home for Christmas,” Hillsman said. “Getting ready for the holidays, these are tough, tough games just to play in general.”
The Orange has risen to the challenge time and again so far this season, and Friday was no different. SU went into halftime with a 27-22 advantage, and maintained the lead throughout the second half in a 64-51 win over Washington State. The win moves Syracuse to 11-1 on the season, and the Orange have over a week off before returning to action on Dec. 30 against Boise State.
Senior center Kayla Alexander has been SU’s go-to player this season, to nobody’s surprise, and the trend continued on Friday. Alexander scored six of SU’s first ten points and led the Orange with 18 points on 8-for-15 shooting, while adding seven rebounds.
“Tonight was a very good game for her,” Hillsman said. “She played against a 6’5’’ player that could defend her, was very physical with her, and she did an excellent job. 18 and seven, I would take that from her every night.”
Through 12 games, Alexander maintains a scoring average of exactly 20 points per game, with Carmen Tyson-Thomas next at 10.6.
Despite coming off the bench this season, Tyson-Thomas has demonstrated her importance to the team in a variety of ways, as she continued to show on Friday with 11 points, seven rebounds and three assists in 27 minutes. Tyson-Thomas put SU up 13-12 on a three-pointer with 11:15 remaining in the first half, sparking a 14-0 Orange run that held WSU scoreless for over six minutes. Syracuse never trailed again.
Aside from Alexander and Tyson-Thomas, Elashier Hall and Brianna Butler turned in double-digit scoring efforts for the Orange on Friday. Ten Orange players saw five or more minutes of action, with seven in double-figure minutes.
The team’s depth has been an asset for SU throughout the season, and Hillsman plans to keep it that way, using players’ different skill sets to generate different types of offense.
“We’ve got to have players scoring from all areas of the floor,” Hillsman said. “Obviously we have Kayla scoring 18 inside, and we have our guards on the perimeter making plays, that’s important for us. As we go through this Big East schedule, it’s going to continue to be more and more important that we have balance.”
The Orange has maintained its balance so far, helping lead to the encouraging start to the season, with its only setback coming against Temple at the back end of a grueling seven-game road trip.
Big East play is sure to bring new and unique challenges, but for now, Hillsman and the team have no reason to complain.
“I’m just really, really happy for our players to be 11-1 at this point,” Hillsman said. “I’m just really happy with the effort, and happy with all the hard work they ha
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