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Kaya Ingram tried to dribble the ball at the top of the key but was met by Chrislyn Carr who locked up to Ingram and matched her movements. Before Ingram could get rid of the ball or explode by Chrislyn, Chrislyn swiped the ball from Ingram.
Ingram fell to her knees trying to dive for the ball, but Chrislyn was already off with an easy fast break layup to put Syracuse up 60-29 with less than three minutes left in the third quarter.
Syracuse (6-4, 0-1 Atlantic Coast) played aggressive defense in its 85-55 blowout win over Cornell (4-6) which resulted in points on offense. The Orange had 13 steals and had 25 points off of turnovers in its victory over the Big Red.
Right out of the gate, Syracuse created problems for the Big Red’s offense when Ania McNicholas took a contested jumper and missed. Teisha Hyman grabbed the rebound and passed it up to Christianna Carr on the left wing in transition, and Christianna fired a 3 to put Syracuse up 3-0.
Three plays later, the Orange closed out to Shannon Mulroy, forcing her to airball a shot from deep. Najé Murray drove down the baseline and gave an extra pass to Chrislyn, who spotted up in the corner and drained the 3-pointer to put Syracuse up 9-2 two minutes into the first quarter and forced Cornell to take a timeout.
Syracuse then set up in its 1-2-2 full court press, which forced Cornell to adjust. Cornell moved the ball up but the trap from the press forced McNicholas to lose the ball out of bounds at around half court. Chrislyn made another shot from beyond the arc on the ensuing offensive possession to give Syracuse a 10-point lead.
“We were really solid defensively,” Syracuse acting head coach Vonn Read said. “We were able to force 18 turnovers.”
Syracuse notched its first steal of the game when Murray intercepted a pass at the baseline, but her transition 3-pointer didn’t fall. Still, for the next three defensive possessions, the Orange held the Big Red to only 2 points halfway into the first quarter.
For Syracuse’s next points, Alaysia Styles pick-pocketed Samantha Will at the top of the key and took the ball coast-to-coast for an uncontested lefty layup. On the way back, Mulroy drove for a layup and was fouled by Hyman to get Cornell back on the board with a free throw.
With one minute left in the first quarter, Styles read the Cornell pass at the top of the key and stole the ball from KC Carter. Styles attempted to get a transition layup like last time, but was fouled on the floor by Will before she could even get a shot up.
To close out the period, Syracuse only gave up one more layup and held a 23-9 lead and didn’t allow Cornell to make one 3-pointer.
In the second quarter, McNicholas took advantage of a gap in the Orange’s 2-3 zone and hit Theresa Grace Mbanefo in stride for a layup. The next play for Alaina Rice fouled Olivia Snyder on a layup attempt, but she missed both free throws.
Still, as Syracuse widened its lead offensively, Cornell struggled to hit a 3 because of the Orange’s defensive closeouts and pressure. Two minutes into the quarter, Will missed a 3-pointer but SU failed to box out Ingram. Ingram passed it out to McNicholas but Murray was there for the close out and forced another miss.
Syracuse held Cornell quiet on offense while it started to expand on its lead, as the Big Red only had two points between the third and fifth minute of the quarter. Syracuse jumped out to a 35-16 lead when Chrislyn got a quick steal and layup, and the Orange closed out the half leading 39-22, still not giving up a 3-pointer.
“Our defense today was very aggressive at the top,” Chrislyn said. “We knew when to switch and we knew that we had to heavily guard the ball just to get those steals in order to have good transition shots.”
To open the third quarter, Cornell broke its nine misses when Will hit a 3-pointer. However, Cornell followed it up with two misses and then Hyman stole the ball at the top of the key the possession after.
The Orange kept the distance between themselves and Cornell, and with five minutes they went back into the 1-2-2 press. Results followed and Christianna got a steal off the inbounds pass and then passed it to Murray who was already under the basket to get two quick points.
A minute later, Syracuse continued its intensity and Rice notched a steal of her own, which led to a string of passes between her, Hyman and Christianna until Chrislyn finally put the ball in the basket.
Cornell still couldn’t escape Syracuse’s pressure late in the third quarter and coughed up the ball two more times. The first time Hyman missed a 3-pointer off her own steal, but Chrislyn stole the ball from Ingram at the top of the key and made a wide-open layup. Rice notched the final steal of the third quarter and the last which would directly lead to points with a minute left.
Heading into the fourth quarter, Syracuse was up 68-33, and with players deeper in the bench rotation, Syracuse called off the defensive pressure with a win almost guaranteed, and closed out the game to win 85-55.
Still, Syracuse finished with 13 steals which led to 25 points in transition, and the Orange also held the Big Red to just 15% from 3 and 33.3% from the field.
“I’ll be glad to look back at the tape,” Read said. “What we’re doing scheme-wise, (the players) executed really well.”
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