Defense, rebounding lead SU Women to victory over Pitt

Syracuse continued its dominance on the boards to beat Pittsburgh 69-60 at the Carrier Dome.

Entering Wednesday night’s game versus Pittsburgh, the Syracuse women’s basketball team was ranked first in the nation in rebounding margin. The Orange relied once again on their defensive prowess, as they  beat the Panthers 69-60.

Syracuse out-rebounded the Panthers by a 50-36 margin, in a game dominated by physical play. Four Orange players had eight or more rebounds each.

Photo: Theodore P. Rysz III
Iasia Hemingway goes for a loose ball in the second half of Syracuse's game against Pittsburgh at the Carrier Dome.

The Orange’s play in the paint made up for a lack of offense. Though Syracuse only shot 35 percent for the game, they hauled in 28 offensive rebounds to help make up the difference.

“We missed like 40 shots,” Syracuse head coach Quentin Hillsman said. “When you miss that many shots, there are a lot to go and get. We’re scoring the basketball because when we shoot and miss, we go and get it. I always say to our players, the more you go, the more you get.”

Carmen Tyson-Thomas led the Orange with 11 rebounds, seven of which came offensively. The sophomore guard had posted four rebounds just 4:11 into the first half.  

“I just have a nose for the ball, so I go every time hard to the net,” Tyson-Thomas said. “When we’re not scoring, you have to rely on your defense to have something else to go to.”

Syracuse captured its rebounds through an aggressive game, diving and lunging to collect the loose ball. The Orange’s physicality gave them an outright advantage in fouls. Syracuse garnered 29 attempts at the line, compared to just eight for the Panthers.

While Pittsburgh’s head coach Agnus Berenato felt that the game was too physical –“Basketball is a non-contact sport,” she said – Syracuse saw the game as representative of the Big East Conference.

“Our conference is in itself very physical,” Tyson-Thomas said. “Everyone is physical, and we just have to match that.”

The bright spot for the Syracuse offense was Elashier Hall. Hall finished the game second in points with 16. Pittsburgh prevented Hall from getting into the paint where she is most comfortable, so the sophomore adjusted to the Panther defense and went 3-of-4 from the 3-point line.

"The one thing about (Hall) is that I knew when I recruited her that she had the ability to be a very strong player,” Hillsman said. “Her confidence is very high.”

Hall’s first 3-point shot served as a turning point offensively for Syracuse. Hall and Tasha Harris scored back-to-back triples with 6:13 remaining in the opening period, giving the Orange their first lead of the night. The scoring spurt gave the home team an offensive jolt, and Syracuse did not relinquish the lead.

“I just know it’s time to play and it’s time to step up for my team,” Hall said. “I’m not a rookie anymore. I have responsibilities for my team and myself.”

GAME NOTES: Senior Erica Morrow had a game-high 17 points. She attempted more free throws (16) than Pittsburgh’s total team (8). Neither team scored in the second half for a span of 4:02. Syracuse has received votes or has been ranked in both the AP and USA Today poll for seven consecutive weeks.



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