SU Women’s Basketball Will Rely on Shooters All Season Long
By Stephen Sklar
CitrusTV Women’s Basketball Beat Reporter
There is less than a week to go until the start of the Syracuse Women’s Basketball season, but this team already knows what its identity will be. SU’s roster might not be the tallest or the most physical, but it has plenty of adept shooters and a coach who loves to play at a fast pace.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if this team made 20 threes a game,” he said.
Syracuse plans on building the offense around the strengths of the fresh faces in the locker room. This past offseason, SU lost 12 players from last year’s roster to the transfer portal and a decent chunk of the team’s offensive nucleus. Players such as ACC co-Sixth Player of the Year Emily Engstler and ACC Freshman of the Year Kamilla Cardoso shined for the Orange last season but decided that it was in their best interests to play elsewhere. Their departures opened the door for the arrivals of players that thrive from outside.
Newcomers such as Najé Murray and Christianna Carr have been known as plus shooters throughout their college careers. Before Murray transferred into ‘Cuse, she set the San Diego State University record for three-pointers made in a season. As for Carr, she has no shooting accolades to her name but that doesn’t make her any less gifted in that department. The last two years at Kansas State, she has shot at least six threes per game, making just around two of those.
Grad transfer Jayla Thornton was also masterful from behind-the-arc in her time with Howard, one of the slowest teams in the country. All things considered; it seems like Thornton is making the transition effortlessly.
“Jayla’s a shooter so she’s going to take open shots…” Read said. “…that’s a really strong point for her so we expect her to be able to come in and produce.”
SU’s success from the beyond-the-arc will most likely determine the overall success of the team. The last couple of weeks, Read has expressed concerns over the team’s presence in the frontcourt. This team has no centers rostered and only two true forwards in Eboni Walker and Alaysia Styles. Read believes that scoring opportunities anywhere close to the basket, as well as other aspects of the game like rebounding and interior defense will be weak spots for this team.
The overall concern over these limitations is reflected in the preseason polls. Head coaches in the ACC voted Syracuse as the 13th best team, while the Blue Ribbon Panel was a little bolder and projected SU to finish 12th. Read and the players swear that they don’t pay attention to any of that. Rather than worrying about what everybody else thinks, this team want the results to do the talking.
“We’re ready to go, we’re ready to prove people wrong,” Christianna Carr said.
There is no question that SU has the talent to do so, the individual track records speak for themselves. When you match that talent with a coach like Vonn Read, who has been praised for his expert knowledge of the game, there’s the expectation within the program that the strong shooters for this club will make up for its deficiencies elsewhere.
Should the team put on a strong showing in its season opener against Monmouth, a 2-16 team last year, they could set themselves on the right track before the competition ramps up.
That game is next week on November 10th at the Carrier Dome. Tip-off is at 7 PM. Stay locked onto my Twitter @StephenASklar all season long for complete coverage of the Syracuse Women’s Basketball team.
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