Syracuse breaks the paint in 97-91 against the No. 18 of the State of Ohio
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In a streak to end the third quarter, the new fusion of transfers, freshmen and coaches have come together for the first time this season. Syracuse hung on with the Ohio State No.18 for much of the game, something it hadn’t done in high-profile games against Notre Dame and USF. But then Christianna Carr stopped halfway and put the Orange back on track after a 10 second violation. She followed that up with a catch-and-shoot 3, pumping her right fist in excitement after the shot.
It started a shootout between the Buckeyes and the Orange in which SU flexed muscles he didn’t have all year, while continuing to thrive in the areas of the game they used to beat three of his opponents. Najé Murray, Teisha Hyman and Chrislyn Carr hit back to back three points.
Then, after a time out in Ohio State, Alaina Rice watched her get knocked out for another rebound. In previous games, Ohio State would have ended possession of Syracuse there. But Rice quickly slammed his right arm and pushed the ball back, leading to a contested layup and a seven-point fourth-quarter lead for SU.
Several Syracuse players hinted ahead of the game of real chemistry being built, and interim head coach Vonn Read said the squad was starting to adjust to his staff. One of the main pre-season scenarios was Syracuse’s undersized size. Then Syracuse beat their first team ranked as a unit. Syracuse was no stranger to beating ranked teams last year. But the win meant Read’s first ranked win of the season, and the first for seven players transferred to the Carrier Dome when the Orange (4-4, 0-1 on the Atlantic coast) defeated No.18 Ohio State. (5-1) 97-91.
Orange “doesn’t have depth in the post,” and now that Priscilla Williams is in a red shirt this season following an Instagram ad on Wednesday morning, Syracuse is going to have to stick to its offensive five-out approach. Teisha Hyman has proven that she can step up yet again and take on the versatile role she has played in her previous victories.
At the start of Wednesday night’s game, Syracuse attempted to lead and penetrate Buckeye’s defense. But OSU stood up and forced Chrislyn Carr and Teisha Hyman to fade to the right on back-to-back possessions, leading to unbalanced shots badly taken. Those unbalanced shots quickly morphed into quick grab-and-shoot attempts that barely rocked the rim as they fell smoothly through the net.
Unlike its top-to-bottom deep success, Syracuse tends to shoot around 45%, with the exception of a horrendous 28.6% against Notre Dame. But in the first quarter against Ohio State, Syracuse couldn’t knock him down from inside the arc. A catch-and-shoot from Najé Murray on an incoming pass slipped away from the net. A disputed dismissal over a turnover of Chrislyn Carr has erupted. All the while, Ohio State was taking advantage of open opportunities and quick layups.
However, small cracks in OSU’s defense began to appear during the first quarter. By the time Hyman drove to his right, passed the ball into his left hand and lifted a shot to give the Orange a one point lead five minutes into the second quarter, Syracuse had opened the barrage and poured into painting.
As the first half drew to a close, Syracuse almost completely moved away from the long ball. Murray buried one from the right corner to stop a short run for the Buckeyes, but Syracuse wanted – for the first time this season – to show what he could do when he managed to maneuver in the paint. They were still shooting just 41.7 percent from the field and edging out Ohio State by three points, but the Orange used aspects of their game that hadn’t been seen before this season.
Syracuse knew he had his work cut out for him facing Mikulasikova, a 6-foot-4 center averaging 14.8 points and four rebounds per game. He had to hold on against one of the greatest players he had seen in the first seven games. Throughout the game, for the first time, he did it. The Orange have been passed in five of their games this season, and they were once again in the win over the Buckeyes. But this time around Syracuse has done enough on the inside to keep up with the much bigger Buckeyes.
In the second half, Syracuse continued to break through the Buckeyes’ defense down. Hyman picked up a pass from Chrislyn Carr near the Syracuse bench. She looked up to find a way, one that was blocked by her defender. So she decided to work her way through the Buckeye’s body and got a contested mid-range bank shot to fall and give SU a three-point lead.
Coming out of a timeout in the middle of the first quarter, Syracuse was behind by 10 points. They dropped a contested layup, but ran a short run to force Ohio State head coach Kevin McGuff to request a timeout and bring SU down to two possessions. Murray broke through and dropped a finger roll. Then Hyman did the same, and a final 3 Murray corner on a turnover put Syracuse within easy reach.
Syracuse finished the first quarter with six turnovers. Read has always insisted on turnovers as something the Orange needs to cut back, especially against better teams like Ohio State. It was this sloppy play, especially from Murray and his three turnovers, that kept Syracuse from regaining the lead until the second quarter.
With three minutes to go in the second half, Hyman stood outside the three-point line, with fans calling him to reach 30 points. But with seven seconds remaining on the shot clock, she rushed to the basket, skirting her defender to the right edge of the painting. With one foot, she floated the ball above her defender and watched him wrap around the edge and fall to give SU a 14-point lead.
Syracuse didn’t need to hit another three-pointer on Wednesday. They sailed in the final two minutes, and even with Ohio State burying the late 3, Syracuse slipped to a win.
Posted on December 1, 2021 at 10:15 p.m.
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