WBB : Orange strong on boards in 2nd half after poor 1st-half performance

first_imgSyracuse recognized that Cincinnati had neutralized the Orange’s biggest asset. And it showed on the scoreboard.The Orange was outrebounded by an undersized Bearcats squad and trailed by five at halftime. The SU players took it upon themselves to get back to their strength in the second half.‘We knew going into halftime that we were being outrebounded and that’s one of the things that we’re good at,’ SU guard Carmen Tyson-Thomas said, ‘so we just made a more conscious effort to get on the boards and get in the paint.’Despite a spirited effort on the glass in the second half, pushing Syracuse to the brink of victory, the Orange (13-9, 2-6 Big East) fell 55-54 to Cincinnati (10-11, 1-7) on a last-second jumper. That shot thwarted a valiant effort inside in the second half following a poor first 20 minutes. In the second half, SU scored 26 points in the paint and 11 second-chance points, but it was not enough.With center Kayla Alexander playing limited minutes due to foul trouble in the first half, Bearcats forward Jeanise Randolph made her mark off the bench, grabbing double-digit rebounds in the first half alone.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textRandolph was instrumental in Cincinnati opening up with a halftime lead. She put up nine points and 11 rebounds in a dominant first-half effort for a Cincinnati team desperate for a conference win.But SU came out with a purpose in the second half. With 9:34 remaining, SU guard Phylesha Bullard grabbed an offensive rebound and got fouled on the putback attempt. She hit two free throws to get the Orange within four points to start a 6-0 run fueled by rebounding that eventually tied the game.Two possessions later, Bullard caught the ball off a miss by Iasia Hemingway and hit a short jumper to knot the game at 43-43 with 8:12 remaining.‘We started getting on the offensive glass and started getting points in the paint,’ SU head coach Quentin Hillsman said. ‘For the longest time we weren’t getting points in the paint, and we started getting in the paint and hitting some shots.’The effort on the glass allowed the Orange to get more high-percentage looks than it was getting in the first. After attempting seven 3-pointers and missing each attempt in the first half, SU pounded the ball inside and crashed the boards for second-chance points.After Cincinnati grabbed its largest lead of the game, 10 points, early in the second half, it was evident that the Orange mindset had changed drastically from the first half.Bullard grabbed an offensive rebound on a miss by center Shakeya Leary, and the Orange grabbed four offensive rebounds on subsequent shots before Hemingway hit a close shot at the hoop to finally reward the team’s effort.‘We do what we do,’ Hillsman said. ‘We try to get the ball inside, and I thought overall we did that. I don’t think we took a lot of bad shots.’And a spirited half by both Alexander and Leary negated Randolph’s first-half performance. Alexander did it on the offensive end, grabbing four of her five offensive rebounds in the second half. Leary added four second-half rebounds on the defensive end.‘I just try to do my job, just get rebounds and help my teammates,’ Leary said. ‘That’s what I’m here to do, help my teammates and if that’s what it takes, that’s what I’m going to continue to do.’Five Orange players finished with five rebounds or more in the loss. And despite Syracuse shooting 40.6 percent in the second half, the Bearcats notched their first Big East win on Bjonee Reaves’ jumper to stun the Orange at the buzzer.With Syracuse’s formula for success working in the second half, it was a tough defeat for the SU head coach to understand.Said Hillsman: ‘That’s tough when you get the ball in the paint and you do your job in the lane and don’t get enough baskets to win the basketball game.’[email protected]  Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on January 28, 2012 at 12:00 pmcenter_img Commentslast_img

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