Starters play bulk of minutes in Syracuse’s 19-point win over Yellow Jackets

first_img Published on February 7, 2016 at 6:38 pm Contact Connor: [email protected] | @connorgrossman On the heels of an ugly first half in which Syracuse shot only 2-of-14 from 3-point land, the Orange continued to feed its long-range specialist.Brianna Butler’s first 3-point attempt of the second stanza clanked off the iron and into the hands of Briana Day. She fed Butler again. The 5-foot-11 senior heaved up another prayer, and this time it fell through to draw SU within three.Syracuse head coach Quentin Hillsman stuck with his starters after a poor opening act, and the veteran core rewarded his faith by outscoring Georgia Tech by 25 in the latter 20 minutes to cement the win.“I haven’t done it in 10 years, I’ve never switched the lineup (after halftime),” Hillsman said. “I don’t even think I’ve ever switched my starters in 10 years.“I think once you get into a flow and you get into a subbing pattern you have to stick with that and have some kind of continuity.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSU’s head coach, who doesn’t allow his starting five to take the floor individually before games because he believes he has seven starters, didn’t cycle through his team’s bench. Four of Syracuse’s (18-6, 8-3 Atlantic Coast) five starters, Isabella Slim notwithstanding, played 32 or more minutes for the first time this season in a 71-52 win over Georgia Tech (14-10, 4-7) in the Carrier Dome Sunday afternoon.In spite of a slow start, Hillsman only turned to reserve players Bria Day, Taylor Ford, Danielle Minott, Maggie Morrison and Julia Chandler for an average of three minutes each in the first half. The bench stood idle even longer in the second, with only eight combined bench minutes aside from Cornelia Fondren.But that’s when SU took off and cushioned a lead with 34 combined points from Peterson and Briana Day.“Now that I think about it, we didn’t really sub as much as we normally would,” Peterson said. “I think that just attributes to how deep we are.“We can play the starters the whole game or we can sub in and keep attacking and keep that same pressure.”Hillsman attributed the lack of subbing to a series of live-ball turnovers that didn’t lend itself to clock stoppages. As his starters began to gel in the second half, he had no inspiring first-half bench play to recall upon.He plucked Morrison off the bench to replace Brittney Sykes in the first quarter. She proceeded to air ball a 3-point attempt and miss another one 27 seconds later before returning to the bench after a two-plus minute hiatus.Sykes promptly returned and played a total of 32 minutes, the second-most she’s recorded since playing 37 against North Carolina on Jan. 7. She was a key cog to Syracuse’s press that helped force 35 turnovers, including a key takeaway that she fed to Briana Day for an and-one layup that put SU up for the first time in the second half.“It can definitely be tiring at times,” Butler said of playing in the Orange’s aggressive defense. “Especially late in the season, this is when you have to step up your conditioning … to be able to play these long minutes.”Syracuse relied heavily on Briana Day’s double-double to put away the Yellow Jackets, leaving minimal opportunity for Chandler to cycle in as the big. Peterson is the only SU player averaging more than 30 minutes a game, and Hillsman isn’t keen on yo-yoing her on and off the court. Butler is often SU’s best shooting option.So Hillsman stuck with Butler, Sykes, Peterson, Briana Day and primarily Fondren. It was the combination that sunk SU into a 10-point hole, and the one that rocketed the Orange ahead for a 19-point win.“We just had a certain energy,” Peterson said. “He didn’t really want to break that.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *