Orange Outshoots Hawks in Career Night for Emily Engstler
By Toni Bianco
CitrusTV Women’s Basketball Beat Reporter
Syracuse Women’s Basketball (2-0, 0-0 Atlantic Coast) remains perfect after Tuesday night’s 65-50 win over Maryland Eastern Shore (1-1, 0-0 Mid-Eastern Athletic) inside the Dome.
Sophomore Emily Engstler had a career night, earning her first career double-double with 15 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and three blocks. She tied her career-highs in made three pointers, free throws and rebounds while setting a new record in assists. Despite her double-digit stats, Engstler was most proud is blocks.
“I think blocks get you so energetic,” said Engstler. “It allows you to go back down on the floor and score the basketball… I think the best feeling on the court is when you get a really good block, and it pumps up everyone else. I feel like everyone thinks they did it.”
Engstler got the scoring started for the Orange about 15 seconds into the match, drilling one from downtown. Then, the Hawks put up 10 unanswered points, courtesy of Adrienne Jones and Ksenia Popovich. Jones knocked down back-to-back threes, finishing the night with 10 points, 9 rebounds, while Popovich hit a jumper and a pair of free throws.
Syracuse found it’s offensive rhythm in the second quarter, going on an 11-2 run led by a pair of threes from freshman Taleah Washington. Engstler’s continued dominance put the Orange up 29-20 at halftime as the sophomore nearly had a first half double-double with 13 points, 7 rebounds. The 2018 New York State Gatorade Player of the Year shot 3-6 on the night from downtown.
“Emily was being very aggressive,” said SU head coach Quentin Hillsman. “I want her to continue to play hard, get up and down the floor, and just be aggressive… If they’re going to back off of Emily behind the arc, I mean she’s going to shoot 50 percent.”
The Orange began to pull away in the third quarter, outscoring Maryland Eastern Shore 17-9, and Digna Strautmane revved up in the second half as Engstler slowed down.
The junior forward had 12 points through the final two quarters bringing her game total to 17. Strautmane knocked down five total threes through 40 minutes of play, four of those coming in the second half. She also went 4-5 from behind the arc after the halftime break.
“Coach just told me to shoot, so I was just shooting,” Strautmane said, which earned a laugh from her teammates Gabrielle Cooper and Engstler. “And I think we were moving [the ball] better in the second half.”
Syracuse had four players record double-digit points in Strautmane (17), Engstler (15), Cooper (11) and Washington (10), prompting an overall positive outlook from Coach Q.
“I’m very happy with the win,” said Hillsman. “I’m really happy with the progression of our team, we’re playing cleaner basketball. We’re not being real sloppy with the ball, which is important for us. For us to continue to win big games, we’ve got to take care of the ball and value the possessions and we’re doing that right now. Most importantly, for us, we want to continue to progress, play hard, try to get solid rotations into the game and just play clean basketball. And so far, so good. We’re a very young team, so we’ve got to continue to build our character, build our competitive spirit every game and not go ahead and get disinterested, because it happens. But I’m just really happy with the win.”
Next up for the Orange, a date with Albany on Saturday, November 16. Syracuse looks to get its third straight win in three-straight home games. The action will kick off at 1 pm inside the Dome.
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