Teisha Hyman’s 23 points lead Syracuse to 79-60 win over Morgan State
Anya Wijeweera | Photo Editor
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At the beginning of the second quarter, Syracuse guard Teisha Hyman positioned herself on the left wing ready for another 3-point attempt in acting head coach Vonn Read’s spaced-out offense. The ball found her through a pass from Alaina Rice, allowing Hyman to score from deep with ease.
But Hyman, who’s coming off her second ACL tear in her basketball career, didn’t turn around and head back the other way to play defense. She was the tenet of Syracuse’s full-court press, forcing her to run forward after her 3. Directly after Morgan State inbounded the ball to point guard Emily Jones, Hyman, still with a brace around her right knee, quickly swiped the ball away for an unguarded layup.
“She’s doing a good job, I don’t see any lingering effects of (her injury),” Read said. “I’m really excited for her to get her opportunities and show what kind of player she is.”
Hyman headed into the locker room at halftime with half of the Orange’s 34 points. By the end of Wednesday’s night’s 79-60 win over Morgan State, Hyman finished with 23 points, nine rebounds and three steals. Syracuse notched a total of 16 steals with its full-court press, building off of 25 steals from its opening two games this season. But the Orange maintained a poor shooting performance from deep, finishing with a 25% 3-point percentage, after shooting the same percentage against Notre Dame in their last game.
Syracuse stayed strong defensively at the start of the game with a full-court press anchored by redshirt sophomore Hyman. But both Christianna and Chrislyn Carr were the first to create turnovers, totaling three steals in the first five minutes of the game. Still, the Orange were unable to capitalize on those steals as Christianna missed on the fastbreak after making a steal of her own and Najé Murray travelled after a steal from Chrislyn.
But Syracuse got settled into Wednesday night’s matchup, using acting head coach Vonn Read’s spread out offense. From the post, Alaysia Styles found Murray a few minutes after her travel for Syracuse’s second make from deep in the game.
“I think there’s going to be more spacing to try and be able to play more five out, more with players moving in and out of the offense,” Read said. “We don’t have a traditional post where we throw it inside every single time.”
By the end of the first quarter, the Orange had a 12-point lead, two more than they had at the end of the first period the last time they faced Morgan State. SU was able to string together a series of fastbreaks, using speed in its full-court press defense and on offense, which Murray said makes up for the lack of height on the Orange’s guard-heavy team.
“We can speed teams up, make teams do things out of hand,” Murray said. “We’re gonna be a fun, fast-paced, pressing team this year.”
Hyman started to make her impact in the full-court press at the start of the second quarter, when she stole the ball from Jones after hitting a 3-pointer. Hyman, who is coming off her second ACL tear, said that she’s been able to return to her “quiet assassin” abilities, specializing in making hustle plays. She finished the first half with a team-high 17 points, including six rebounds and two assists.
At the start of the second half, Syracuse continued to set up long shots from its players, finding Murray again for an open look to give it a 39-20 lead. Christianna and Hyman shot from deep on two ensuing possessions, but both were unsuccessful. Murray stepped on the line on her next 3-point attempt, resulting in three straight misses for SU.
Still, the Orange improved from their 25% shooting performance from beyond the arc in their loss to Notre Dame, shooting slightly better with a 28.6% success rate halfway through the third quarter. Rice said that SU’s struggles from deep were due to players losing confidence in their ability, instead of continuing to shoot.
“When players miss shots they get down, but they just need to keep shooting and they’ll get better,” Rice said.
The struggle from deep led to defensive issues for the Orange as they were unable to fall back on defense, despite using a court press. After Murray hit two free throws, the Bears’ Jayla Atmore found Dahnye Redd wide open as Eboni Walker was unable to catch up.
But Walker was able to make up for her mistake late in the third quarter in her role as Syracuse’s center. Read said that because of the multitude of guards on the Orange’s roster, the team would play center “by committee” using Walker, Styles and Christianna. After her block, Walker secured the ball and sent a full-court heave to freshman Nyah Wilson, who scored with a layup off the glass.
Before Walker’s block, Hyman kick-started Syracuse’s defensive success after its troubles earlier in the second half. She mimicked her play from the opening two quarters, dominating in the full-court press.
After hitting two free throws, Hyman acted as if she was going back into Syracuse’s half before bolting forward and stealing the ball from Jones again. Instead of using the backboard like she did on her previous steal-and-score, Hyman found the bottom of the net.
Published on November 17, 2021 at 9:05 pm
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