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After any Syracuse basket from late in the first period until the end of the game, the Orange brought out their full-court press to try and cut into Boston College’s expanding lead. After bringing out the press, Teisha Hyman immediately got a steal, but she fumbled the ball and couldn’t convert, drawing a foul instead.
Early in the second quarter, Najé Murray scored a layup and Chrislyn Carr, Hyman and Murray fell into their spots in the press. But Ally VanTimmeren easily navigated through the trio and found Maria Gakdeng inside, heaving the ball over Christianna Carr’s outstretched hands. Then, Cameron Swartz scored from deep after Chrislyn missed a layup, forcing acting head coach Vonn Read to call a timeout as BC led 40-16.
“With the press, that was my vision of the team, but our girls can’t do that for 40 minutes and be able to score with six players,” Read said. “You just can’t do that with that type of depth.”
Syracuse’s (11-17, 4-14 Atlantic Coast) year-long problems didn’t disappear in its final regular season game of the year, leading to a 91-75 loss against Boston College (19-10, 10-8). The full court press, which has been Syracuse’s secret weapon at times, was a nonfactor on Sunday. The Eagles were able to get past the set on most possessions, hitting 10 shots from deep and notching 58 points in the first half. The Orange got as close as 11 in the fourth quarter, but throughout the game they were unable to stop baskets from the Eagles or answer back on the other end.
Boston College was able to find openings in the left side of Syracuse’s 2-3 zone early, with six 3-pointers from that area alone coming in the opening period.
With the defensive issues, Syracuse brought out the press late in the first quarter. Following her own 3-pointer, Chrislyn maintained defensive pressure on Makayla Dickens from the inbound pass until half court. After Dickens crossed half court, Chrislyn was able to push her back by continuing to go for the ball, resulting in an over-and-back violation.
Christianna and Alaysia Styles scored from beyond the arc later in the second period, but neither were able to maintain a presence inside defensively. Before Styles scored, Gakdeng punished her inside, spinning her around for a one-handed hook shot that found the bottom of the net. After Christianna’s 3, Gakdeng was able to draw a double team from Christianna and Styles, finding Taylor Soule open directly next to the basket.
In the final 30 seconds of the first half, the Eagles scored two more times inside. After Christianna turned the ball over, Swartz positioned herself at the top of the key while the Orange’s defense shifted to the right side of the court. This created a hole on the left side, allowing Swartz to go untouched down the lane.
Christianna made up for her earlier mistakes at the start of the third quarter, poking the ball away from Gakdeng as she tried to establish herself in the post. She ran to the right corner and Styles found her wide open, cutting the Eagles’ lead to 33.
The shot started a 7-4 scoring run for the Orange, but Swartz started to create problems for Syracuse. With multiple players on Gakdeng to mitigate her post presence, Swartz was left wide open on a backdoor cut, going behind Chrislyn as she was focused on another player. The Eagles set up screens for Swartz, too, getting her in isolation against Murray, where she was able to score off a pull-up jumper.
Murray later exited the game, walking back to the locker room after a weird fall while trying to get a rebound following a missed 3-pointer. Nyah Wilson came into the game, but Hyman and Chrislyn were forced to keep pressing without their third counterpart.
Hyman later turned two steals into two baskets. As the Orange launched a final comeback against the Eagles, Hyman’s pressure caused the Eagles to throw the ball out of bounds while trying to break through the press. Hyman took possession and drove unguarded through the lane, notching her 17th and 18th points of the game.
“If you look back at the game, almost every possession they were scoring,” Hyman said. “Once we slowed them down a little bit, got some momentum, it shifted the energy of the game.”
With a minute left in the third quarter, Chrislyn pressured JoJo Lacey, who was inbounding the ball, forcing Lacey to send an errant pass that was not in the vicinity of any BC player. Chrislyn secured the ball in the right corner, turning around for a baseline jumper. But she was short, barely grazing the bottom of the backboard with her shot.
Styles also made an offensive impact when the game was still in striking distance during the second quarter, though the Orange were still unable to turn those plays into baskets. Styles, who’s usually positioned in the back of the full-court press, moved into Chrislyn’s spot after Murray missed a 3 from the right corner.
The Syracuse forward came up with a steal, but immediately missed the ensuing layup. Hyman was there on the glass, but her shot bobbled in and out of the rim, unable to stop a four-minute Syracuse scoring drought.
Styles batted down a pass a few minutes later, passing right to Murray, who sprinted down to the basket on her own. Murray was hit as she went up, though a foul wasn’t called and the attempt rattled off the left side of the rim as the Orange were unable to turn defense into offense again, another example of a season-long issue that popped up again and again on Sunday.
“We have to be able to get stops, and we have to be able to get shots out of the press,” Read said.
The post Syracuse’s defense folds early in 91-75 loss to Boston College appeared first on The Daily Orange.