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Syracuse hit four 3-pointers on its first 4-of-5 offensive possessions to take a 12-2 lead. The Orange never looked back and went on to win 85-55 after that early lead against Cornell.
Here are some observations from Syracuse’s (6-4, 0-1 Atlantic Coast) dominant win over Cornell (4-6):
Red hot start
To start the game, Cornell’s Ania McNicholas missed a pull-up jumper from the free-throw line, and Teisha Hyman grabbed the rebound and took two dribbles before passing it up to Christianna Carr. Christianna drained a 3-pointer from the left wing to open up the scoring for Syracuse.
Two possessions later, Syracuse then hit another 3 as Hyman passed to an open Najé Murray on the right wing who swished the 3. The next SU possession, Chrislyn Carr caught a baseline pass from Murray and squared up in the corner for the third 3 to give Syracuse a 9-2 lead.
In the first quarter, Syracuse shot 71.5% from deep with five made threes to take an early 16-point lead, and the Orange tacked on 12 more 3-pointers. Murray and Christianna led the Orange with four 3s apiece on the night.
Struggles guarding inside
Syracuse acting head coach Vonn Read yelled at Chrislyn Carr to close out on Samantha Will as she spotted up for a 3 in transition. With Chrislyn in her face, Will hesitated shooting and instead drove to the basket, which let the rest of the Syracuse players get back on defense.
SU forced multiple airballs from Cornell’s 3-point attempts and didn’t allow a single 3 in the first half. Cornell only shot 15.0% from beyond the arc on the game.
Still though, the Orange struggled inside defensively at times. Majority of Cornell’s points came from high-post passes from the elbow to a cutter on the baseline against the 2-3 zone or for layups.
With nine minutes in the second quarter, Theresa Grace Mbanefo received a post-entry pass by the basket with Christianna on her back. Mbanefo took two dribbles, spun over her left shoulder to square up to the basket and converted on the layup.
Alaysia Styles stepped up high above the 3-point line and intercepted a pass from Shannon Mulroy and had no one ahead of her. Styles took three dribbles and laid the ball in for an easy two points to put Syracuse up 14-2 early in the game.
Later, Chrislyn had an almost identical play and stole the ball at the top of the key. This time, however, there were two Cornell defenders back on defense to meet her. Still, Chrislyn drove at them and floated the ball into the basket to put Syracuse up 19 points.
In the third quarter, Syracuse continued its relentless pressure and got two steals in a row. Following those plays, Chrislyn finished with two steals, picking a Cornell player’s pocket before finishing with a right-handed layup.
On the night, Syracuse finished with 13 steals and 25 points off of turnovers.
Free throw success
Syracuse was inbounding the ball when Murray curled off a screen and got fouled after a baseline jumper. She calmly stepped up to the line and went 2-for-2 to put Syracuse up 23-7.
Murray wasn’t the only player who went perfect. In fact, in the first three quarters, Syracuse didn’t miss a single free throw and went 9-for-9.
It wasn’t until there was a minute left in the fourth quarter when the Orange finally missed a free throw. Ava Irvin stepped up to the line for Syracuse after getting fouled on a layup. Irvin went 0-2 and ruined Syracuse’s chances to go perfect from the line, but the Orange still finished with more made free throws than the Big Red.
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