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Sunday, Dec 02, 2018 at 6:50 pm

Five Players in Double Figures as No. 12 Syracuse Routs Towson

By A.J. Fabbri

CitrusTV Women’s Basketball Reporter

SYRACUSE, NY— Just three days after posting their season-low scoring total in a loss at Minnesota, Syracuse took out its offensive frustration on the Towson Tigers. No. 12 Syracuse (7-2, 0-0 Atlantic Coast) demolished Towson (3-4, 0-0 Colonial Athletic) 98-55 in SU’s highest point total of the year.

Syracuse asserted itself early, blanketing the Tigers with their always dangerous full court zone pressure. Towson struggled, as the Orange scored seven points off of four Tiger turnovers in the first four minutes of the contest.

“I thought our defense settled down and we started playing our pressure points better,” said head coach Quentin Hillsman after the game. “We made sure we played to our strengths, and their weaknesses.”

Miranda Drummond set the pace early for SU draining a corner three, then leaving Towson defenders in her dust as she spun to the cup for an easy two in transition. Drummond, who would finish the game with 17 points and and ten rebounds, is dealing with a lower back issue but has not missed a game this season. The 6’1 redshirt senior is often battling opponents much larger than herself, yet she is a constant contributor to Orange victories.

“I just try to be the most aggressive I can be,” Drummond said. “Going against sometimes bigger players is difficult, but I just try to be the stronger person.”

Down by ten in the early going, Towson settled down and pulled the game to within three after an 11-4 run. The run was spearheaded by redshirt sophomore Kionna Jeter’s 11 points. The Orange quelled the comeback run on the last possession of the quarter, when Tiana Mangakahia drove to the lane and found Gabrielle Cooper all alone in the corner. Her second three of the quarter beat the buzzer to give the Orange a 23-17 lead at the end of one quarter.

The Orange continued to stretch its lead in the second frame. Digna Strautmane nailed a three from straight away to stretch the lead to 26-17. The shot was the start of a 7-0 run that would set the tone for the remainder of the game. Strautmane finished with a season high nineteen points. Hampered with foul trouble and relegated to the bench for most of the season, Strautmane was finally able to break through offensively.

“It was mostly a team effort,” said Strautmane. “There was good passing. We all played together. It was our game out there. It just came naturally.”

Towson continued to unravel against the suffocating SU defense. In the second quarter alone, the Tigers coughed up the ball 11 times. Syracuse held Towson to just 3-11 from the field, allowing just one made field goal in the final seven minutes of the half. SU’s struggles from deep carried over from the Minnesota game, as the Orange shot just 21.7% from downtown. The lone bright spot from beyond the arc was Cooper, who finished 3-5 from deep in the first half. Strautmane led the Orange in the first half with 15 points.

The rout continued in the second half. The Orange outscored the Tigers 22-12 in the third quarter to put the game out of reach at 77-41. SU was in cruise control for the remainder of the game.

Coming off of a tough luck loss on the road to No. 20 Minnesota, SU was sure to not overlook their opponent on Sunday.

“We didn’t show the best effort [against Minnesota],” Strautmane said. “We were not mentally ready. It was important for us to prepare for this game and we did.”

“We understood that we needed to get this game back from our last game, make sure we played well. I’m happy with how we responded,” Hillsman said,

Five different Orange players tallied double-digit scoring. In addition to Drummond and Strautmane, Mangakahia added 13 points and 12 rebounds, her third double-double of the year. Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi added 13, while Cooper knocked three threes, finishing with 17.

With the win, the Orange remains undefeated in the Carrier Dome. Up next, SU will host Maryland Eastern Shore on Wednesday, December 5th at 7 p.m.

ajfabbri@syr.edu | @armand_john