No. 15 Syracuse Cruises Past Maryland Eastern Shore
By A.J. Fabbri
CitrusTV Women’s Basketball Reporter
No. 15 Syracuse (8-2, 0-0 Atlantic Coast) used a breakout second quarter and precision shooting from the field to rout Maryland Eastern Shore (2-6, 0-0 Mid-Eastern Athletic) 96-51 Wednesday night. The victory was the second consecutive in which the Orange eclipsed 90 points.
Following up her season-high performance against Towson on Sunday, Digna Strautmane again set the pace for the Orange early. She knocked down three of her four first quarter threes to give SU a 7-5 early lead. But the Hawks matched SU’s shooting prowess. Eastern Shore’s Amanda Carney foiled Syracuse’s 2-3 zone, knocking down four of five for 10 early points. Carney knocked down a midrange jumper after Strautmane overcommitted that sparked a 7-0 Hawks run to give them a 24-21 lead at the end of 10 minutes. Both teams combined for eight three-pointers in the quarter.
“There’s always apart of the when you adjust to the team. You try to get a feel for them. When we start to play we can actually feel them,” Strautmane said.
The feeling out period quickly paid dividends, as the Orange opened things up in the second frame. SU established itself inside to start the quarter. Amaya Finklea knocked down two free throws, followed by back to back post buckets from Maeve Djaldi-Tabdi. Sandwiched between those six points was a Miranda Drummond three. Just like that, the Orange recaptured a five point lead, and they didn’t stop there. Gabrielle Cooper nailed her first three of the game to stretch the lead to eight. Tiana Mangakahia took an errant Hawk jumper coast to coast and finished at the rack. The 14-2 run to start the quarter gave SU a 35-26 lead. The Orange would outscore the Hawks 31-7 in the quarter to take a commanding 52-31 lead at the half.
“They shot good shots. They were open, and they took good shots at the right opportunities,” head coach Quentin Hillsman said of his squad.
The quick strikes continued in the second half. Mangakahia opened up the quarter with a power drive to the rack and finger rolled it in, followed by a Strautmane three pointer. The lead swelled to 57-31, and continued thereafter.
Sophomore forward Amaya Finklea was the tallest player on the court and she played like it. At 6’4, Finklea owned the paint, racking up a season-high 14 points.
“There was definitely a big height advantage. We knew that if we posted up hard, got shots, and get rebounds… it would help us. It helps with confidence, too,” Finklea said of her breakout game.
With the win, the Orange remain undefeated inside the Carrier Dome. At 8-2, Hillsman is pleased with his team’s performance throughout the first ten contests of the season.
“Our RPI is at 7. Were 8-2. Were in the top 15 in the country in both polls. So I’m just really pleased with where our players are right now. We’re in a good place.”
With end of semester finals looming, the Orange will have 12 days off from game action. Hillsman mentioned the ladies will get around four or five days to themselves to prepare for exams.
Syracuse will return to action on Monday, December 17th in the Carrier Dome as they host Niagara.
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