SU overpowers Crimson in 1st round of WNIT

first_img Published on March 17, 2010 at 12:00 pm Comments Facebook Twitter Google+center_img With the clock winding down below 14 minutes in the second half and Syracuse already well on its way to a win, Kayla Alexander added an early exclamation point to a dominant performance.Harvard guard Victoria Lippert got the ball in the paint and tried a turnaround jumper over the Orange freshman. Alexander rejected the fadeaway but the ball bounced back to the Crimson.It eventually found its way back into Lippert’s hands on the left wing, where she tried to drive down the middle. Alexander popped out from underneath the basket and took a vicious swing at the shot, again sending it away.That block, however, ricocheted to SU guard Tyler Ash, who started a fast break. She found a slashing Carmen Tyson-Thomas for an easy layup and the Orange continued to roll.Syracuse (23-10, 7-9 Big East) easily dealt with an overmatched Harvard (20-9, 11-3 Ivy League) squad Thursday, beating the Crimson 87-68 in front of 173 people at Manley Field House. SU’s freshmen duo of Alexander and Tyson-Thomas and the Orange’s overall size proved too much for Harvard to handle in the first-round NIT matchup. The win gave Syracuse 23 this year, marking the highest single-season total in program history.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSU moves on to play Richmond at 7 p.m. Monday in Manley Field House in the second round of the NIT.‘I thought, overall, we really played well in the paint,’ SU head coach Quentin Hillsman said. ‘We really wanted to push tempo and really get up and down the floor and be aggressive. And that’s what we did.’While the Orange made it a physical game with drives and low post play when it had the ball, Harvard when with a different approach. The Crimson heaved up 19 3-pointers in the first half, only to see five of them swish through.And on the other end, SU soon discovered that no one could matchup with the freshman Alexander, who finished the day with 22 points. Harvard tried to play from behind the 6-foot-4 forward, allowing her to catch entry passes easily and turn for quick shots.  When the Crimson finally did send another defender to double Alexander late in the first half, she took one dribble to split the defense and put up a soft shot that rattled in.‘They were playing behind (me) so it was easier to seal and easier to pass inside,’ she said. ‘I like it when people play behind. I get more touches.’And when it wasn’t Alexander terrorizing the undersized Crimson down low, it was her fellow freshman, Tyson-Thomas, dropping in points from all over the court. She scored a career-high 17 points and pulled in 13 rebounds.On Syracuse’s last two possessions of the first half, Tyson-Thomas hit a baseline jumper and a buzzer-beating 3 to send the Orange into halftime. After the long-range trey, the freshman smiled and ran over to the SU bench, where she was greeted with chest bumps and high fives from her teammates.She said that her rebounding early (seven boards in the first half) helped get her into the flow of the game, which, in turn, helped her scoring.‘I was pretty much taking good shots, efficient shots,’ she said. ‘I wasn’t taking too many 3’s. That wasn’t our game plan. I was trying to get in the paint.’The freshman pair combined for 27 points in the first half, powering the Orange to a 55-30 lead at the break.And with the big lead, Syracuse coasted through the second half. Harvard never got closer than 19 points and SU led by as much as 33 before the game was over.‘I’m just really happy with our effort,’ Hillsman said. ‘We just really wanted to pound the paint, rebound the basketball, take quality shots. …We only took four 3’s and that was our goal, not to shoot a lot of 3s and attack the basket. I was very happy with our performance. I was very happy with our freshman. Our freshman played big. Overall, I’m just really happy we can play another game.’[email protected]last_img read more