Women's basketball: Peterson continues stellar play in win over N.C. State

The point guard scored 27 points as the Orange launched a furious second-half run to pull away.

With his team shooting a paltry 24 percent from the field and failing to make the necessary hustle plays, Syracuse head coach Quentin Hillsman told his club at halftime to show more urgency. 

Consider the message received. 

Led by Alexis Peterson’s 27 points and a big double-double from Briana Day, No. 23/22 Syracuse (15-5, 5-2) came out of the Carrier Dome locker room with a newfound swagger and intensity, blitzing North Carolina State (12-8, 3-4) with a 23-0 run en route to its fifth-straight victory Sunday night, 66-49. 

“It’s good to be able to protect home court,” Hillsman said. “I thought that was one of the most important things for us in this game.” 

In a stellar outing, Peterson carried the brunt of the scoring load, attacking the basket and getting to the free throw line on a consistent basis while also chipping in five rebounds and four assists. 

“Obviously Alexis Peterson was tremendous again at scoring the basketball,” Hillsman said. 

Indeed she was. 

Facing an early 6-0 deficit, Peterson took charge, scoring seven-straight points and drawing a number of fouls to keep the game close while her teammates continued to search for their offensive touch. Once the second half started, it didn't take long for them to find it. 

With Syracuse down 32-26, the Orange unleashed swarming full-court pressure to provide the spark it needed, and while the Wolfpack was held scoreless for nearly ten minutes, offensive opportunities soon arose for SU. 

Briana Day scored four quick points and Brianna Butler canned a corner three to reclaim the lead. The Orange never looked back, scoring 40 points in the half to double up their opponent’s 20. 

“I think we just picked up our energy, our intensity, we started getting stops and started making some baskets,” said Peterson on her teams second half flurry. “It kind of turned us over… we wanted to keep the energy high.” 

Anchoring the defense with ferocious rim protection, Briana Day had seven huge blocks to complement her 11 points and a game-best 16 rebounds. 

“[Day] was a beast,” Hillsman said in regard to his center. “She had a big-girl game down there.” 

When asked about her effectiveness, Day smiled. 

“I didn’t foul,” she said. “So that’s always awesome.” 

With Diamond Henderson, the team’s third-leading scorer, playing just nine minutes due to back spasms and a difficult matchup Thursday at No. 4 Louisville looming, there is no denying the magnitude of this win for the Orange. 

Said Hillsman: “Our kids just played well. There were times when we were a little banged up but overall our kids just did a great job.” 

When asked about the coincidence of his bow tie and yet another big game from his point guard, who rang in 32 points against Wake Forest when he wore it 10 days prior, the Syracuse coach paused. 

“I think it’s going to be a bow tie season,” he said with a grin.

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