Women's basketball: Briana Day's quick start leads the Orange past Penn State

The sophomore led the team with 15 points as SU cruised to another non-conference win.

Despite a shaky start and a horrendous shooting performance, No. 21 Syracuse (6-1) made easy work of unranked Penn State (1-6) in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, defeating the Lady Lions 61-39 at the Carrier Dome on Thursday night. 

Sophomore forward Briana Day led the Orange with 15 points, 13 of which came in the first half, and helped build a sizable lead that remained largely unchallenged for the majority of the game. 

Despite minimal pressure from Penn State’s zone defense, Syracuse failed to convert many of its shots, going 30.1 percent on 73 attempts from the field and 17.5 percent on 40 shots from beyond the arc. 

Junior guard Brianna Butler was particularly ineffective, making only 4 her of 19 three-point shots. Despite the large volume of Butler’s shots, SU head coach Quentin Hillsman believed she chould have launched even more. 

“I thought that Butler passed up on 10 threes,” Hillsman said. “She took 19 of them? She should have had 30 of them.” 

Syracuse’s poor shooting resulted in only a two-point lead midway through the first half, as the team was a dismal 3 of 12 from beyond the arc and converted only one shot in the paint. 

Then Day took over. With the Orange struggling to score, the sophomore converted seven points over a two-minute stretch to help give Syracuse a 35-19 lead at the half. Though Day only scored once in the second half, she continued to contribute, adding eight rebounds and three blocks to her already impressive stat-line 

“Just playing hard,” Day said. “Just having the will and who wants it more and I think that’s what I had to do. [I’m] doing what I can for my team and I think that’s what got us going.” 

Penn State also helped disguise the Orange’s shooting troubles by committing 20 turnovers, nearly double that of Syracuse. The Lady Lions also had their own problems getting buckets, shooting 27.8 percent from the field and 21 percent from the three-point line. 

One highlight for Penn State was the play of junior center Candice Agee, who dominated the paint on the defensive end and kept the Orange out of the box for much of the game. 

Despite facing the six-foot-six-inch Agee, who led the team with nine rebounds and finished second in scoring with eight points, the Orange trusted its shooting-heavy offense to overcome the disadvantage in the paint. 

“I think the shots beyond the arc were coming because we were open,” said senior guard Maggie Morrison. “Getting open shots in the zone, especially threes, is a big part of our offense. And I think we have confidence with Briana (Day) inside regardless of size, because she’s quicker, faster [and] can move around the post.” 

Syracuse remained in the lead by 22 points for much of the second half. Although PSU attempted a late comeback, cutting the lead to 14 with 5:41 left, it was not enough to stop the Orange from coasting to victory. 

Syracuse now has a long 10-day break to look forward to as it rests up for a Dec. 14 matchup with N.C. Central. For the hard-working Orange, the long-term breather is something to look forward to. 

“We’ve been going hard since the beginning of the school year,” Butler said. “So it’ll be a nice little break for us.”

Post new comment

* Field must be completed for your comment to appear on The NewsHouse
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.