Syracuse Snaps Three Game Skid, Cruises to an 82-48 Win at Home Against UMBC
By Toni Bianco
CitrusTV Women’s Basketball Beat Reporter
Three minutes into the second half, Amaya-Finklea flashed her left hand in the air, posting up on the ACC logo at the top of the key. Emily Engstler fed her the ball from the top of the arc, and Finklea went to work. She took one power dribble left, digging her shoulder into her defender, UMBC’s Lucrezia Costa. Costa bit on the fake, so Finklea planted her right foot and spun, launching herself toward the basket. She layed in with her left hand, looking collected and secure throughout the sequence.
Syracuse (5-4, 0-0 Atlantic Coast) went on to score 40 points in the paint on their way to an 82-48 victory over UMBC (2-7, 0-0 America East) inside the Dome on Sunday afternoon. The Orange attacked the painted, dominating down low on the Retriever’s missed assignments.
“When the bigs were setting screens, we saw that [UMBC defenders] were going under, so that left us driving lanes to get to the rim,” said SU guard Kiara Lewis. “And then when they came out, we just dumped it off to the post players.”
Syracuse saw five different players score in double-figures, including forward Finklea. She recorded a season-high 13 points, her third double-digit performance this season.
“Amaya is really getting to that midline and posting up tough,” said head coach Quentin Hillsman. “She’s starting to really understand that when she gets the ball, stop looking to pass, look to score. I think that’s been big for her.”
The Orange got off to a sluggish start. Hillsman was expecting that as his team was fatigued after two weeks of traveling coast-to-coast and a stint in Canada. SU had ten turnovers in the first half against a UMBC team that wasn’t even pressing. Plus, the Orange only led by just two points after ten minutes of play.
The ‘Cuse was cold from behind the arc, shooting just 8-35 on the day, except for Digna Strautmane. The junior was 5-9 from downtown and working from all over the floor for 17 points, five rebounds, three blocks and two steals.
To combat its shooting struggles, Syracuse used their size to drive the lane and draw fouls, getting themselves to the line. Free throws at the end of the second quarter gave SU an 11-point lead heading into the halftime break.
Teisha Hyman had an impressive performance with a career-high 16 points. Hyman appeared very comfortable after two air balls early on, working the driving lane as well as pulling up for quick jumpers from about nine feet. She started to find a groove in the second half, and Hillsman is confident in her future in orange.
“Good coaching, man,” joked Hillsman, regarding Hyman’s recent success. “Anytime [Teisha] can get into space, she can get by most people in the country that guard her. She’s a really talented player, so the more comfortable she gets and the more minutes she gets, she’s gonna be really good for us.”
The Orange will get almost a full two weeks of rest before they’re on the road again- this time heading to the Sunshine State for some warmer weather. Syracuse will play Michigan State and West Virginia in the Florida Sunshine Classic. The first of those matchups is December 20 against the Spartans. That action gets going at 1:30 p.m. in Winter Park, Florida.
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