Syracuse defense forces turnovers, contributes possessions to Orange’s record-setting win

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on November 20, 2013 at 11:46 pm Contact Tyler: [email protected] Only two days after Syracuse’s defense forced 29 turnovers in a victory against Cornell, its thievery was again on full display at the Carrier Dome on Wednesday night.The Orange easily rolled to a 113-42 victory over Maryland Eastern Shore (1-3) by playing suffocating defense throughout the entire game. SU (4-0) forced 31 turnovers and generated 53 points from those Lady Hawks mistakes.Eighteen of the blemishes were steals created by an aggressive Syracuse attack. Orange head coach Quentin Hillsman said those takeaways were a key spark for the team’s record-setting offensive performance.“Those were 18 live-ball opportunities where we generated offense from our defense,” Hillsman said. “When you play defenses that are unset, that gives you a lot of opportunities.“Tonight, we played against an unsettled defense a lot.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSyracuse immediately set the tone by forcing nine takeaways during the first nine minutes of the contest. Brianna Butler was credited with four of them, the last of which led to an easy layup that gave her 11 points and the Orange a 22-point lead.Against the unsettled Lady Hawks defense, Butler continued to ride that early momentum and finished the game with 23 points. She took passes from her teammates in rhythm, she said, and each shot she hit built up her confidence to unleash one again the next time she was open.The advantage only grew from there. By the end of the first frame, SU had forced 18 turnovers and allowed only 15 Hawk points. Of the Orange’s record 64 first-half points, 28 were generated off turnovers.Syracuse broke the program record for points in a single half, and guard Brittney Sykes said that wouldn’t have been possible without the fast-break chances generated on defense.“Defense is a big key to our offense in getting those passing lanes and moving the ball,” Sykes said. “It helps us get in transition and get those transition buckets, and to get back on defense and keep doing it over and over again.”Even when the game was well in hand during the closing minutes, the team kept scrapping for loose balls. Phylesha Bullard turned the final Orange steal into a layup with only two minutes remaining.Hillsman deadpanned that he will retire before he allows his team to stop being aggressive.“We’ve got to play clean basketball,” he said. “I don’t want to not use this opportunity to still play basketball and still learn things that we need to work on.”In all, nine players had at least one steal for the Orange. The starting five combined for eight of them despite limited playing time.Syracuse has now held its past three opponents under 50 points, and the 42 points are the lowest total it has allowed since an 80-39 victory over Pittsburgh in February.Hillsman said that UMES is a solid offensive team, and the Orange took full advantage of an uncharacteristically sloppy performance.“I watched their other games, and they’ve been scoring 70, 80 points,” he said. “We just got it going tonight, and we took a lot of what they were doing offensively and were really successful with what we did.” Commentslast_img