June 23, 2021

WBB : Recovery: Syracuse looks to bounce back against Cincinnati after 41-point loss to UConn

first_img Published on January 26, 2012 at 12:00 pm Contact Ryne: [email protected] Quentin Hillsman brushed it off, seemingly annoyed by the first question following his opening remarks.After watching Connecticut light up his Syracuse team — shooting 62.5 percent from the field and 61.5 percent from beyond the arc in the second half — Hillsman gave a quick nine-word response before clearing his throat and scanning the room as he waited for the next question, making it clear he never considered abandoning or extending his 2-3 zone defense.‘Absolutely not,’ Hillsman said. ‘I thought about playing our zone better.’But the Syracuse zone was clearly overmatched by the No. 3 Huskies in the second half, repeatedly leaving them wide open en route to a 41-point loss in the Carrier Dome on Wednesday. The second half, in which Connecticut executed with machine-like efficiency, exposed a porous Orange defense that needs to improve for SU to turn its season around.Syracuse (13-8, 2-5 Big East) has a chance to get back on track when it takes on last-place Cincinnati (9-11, 0-7) on Saturday at 4 p.m. in the Carrier Dome.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAfter the discouraging blowout loss to UConn, the Orange had little to smile about, especially when discussing its performance on the defensive end in the second half. But the holes in the zone also appeared late in the first half, foreshadowing Syracuse’s struggles to slow down the Huskies’ 3-point barrage in the final 20 minutes.Connecticut guard Tiffany Hayes stood alone in the right corner with just under four minutes remaining before halftime. Bria Hartley hit her with a crisp pass, and Hayes let it go as Carmen Tyson-Thomas lunged out desperately to contest the shot. But she was too late and Hayes drilled the 3-pointer to give UConn a seven-point lead — its largest of the game to that point.Hillsman wasn’t pleased as he watched the play unfold right in front of him, repeating to Tyson-Thomas twice that Hayes was wide open before she retreated down the court on offense.‘They did a very good job of getting the ball reversed and getting 3-pointer looks,’ Hillsman said. ‘And just in the second half, we kind of just fell apart.’The collapse came as a result of more of the same after the break.UConn knocked in three shots from the perimeter to expand its seven-point halftime lead to 17 early in the second half, deflating the Orange. The Huskies poured in five more 3s the rest of the way to cruise to an easy victory.Hayes paced the Huskies with 35 points on a near-perfect shooting performance. The Huskies guard drew praise from UConn head coach Geno Auriemma, Hillsman and the SU players for her brilliant play after the game.‘Honestly, they were making open shots,’ Hemingway said. ‘Tiffany went 11-for-15 from the field.‘She went, what,’ Hemingway added, pausing to look down at the stat sheet, ‘6-for-8 from the 3. I feel like they had us wide open.’And as Hemingway said, many of Hayes’ 3s were uncontested as the Orange failed to rotate out against Connecticut’s quick ball movement. The zone lacked the energy and aggression it displayed early in the game, and the Syracuse players seemed to be a play behind the Huskies.It was clear all the way to the end when UConn reserve Lauren Engeln, who played just four minutes, hit a 3 in the left corner with just more than a minute remaining to put the finishing touch on a 95-54 victory.Engeln corralled a long rebound, dribbled out beyond the arc and released the shot as Tyson-Thomas stood a few feet in front and watched. The shot broke the silence in the Carrier Dome as the UConn bench rose to its feet and erupted in cheers.The brutal loss gave SU plenty to think about after the game. But Hillsman said he didn’t have a message for his team to improve heading into its matchup with Cincinnati. His Orange team simply has to get better.For Hillsman, the loss wasn’t about making adjustments defensively. It was about a lack of execution. And though Cincinnati is winless in the conference and ranks 12th in 3-point shooting, the Orange knows it must play its zone better on Saturday.‘We prepare the same way for every game,’ Tyson-Thomas said. ‘Every Big East team has the capability to beat any other Big East team.’[email protected] Commentscenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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