WBB : Morrow returns to court, overcomes bulky knee brace in win
Erica Morrow’s first in-game touch in 16 days did not go as planned.
After Syracuse won the opening tip, the senior guard took the ball slowly up the court. As she neared the 3-point line on the right wing with little pressure from St. Bonaventure, she dribbled the ball off the side of her foot. It bounced up in the air past her outstretched hand and flew out of bounds.
One possession. One touch. One turnover.
The bulky brace on Morrow’s sprained right knee may not have directly caused that mistake, but it served as a nagging reminder of the injury throughout the Orange’s 63-50 win over St. Bonaventure in the Carrier Dome. The senior did not play Thursday in SU’s first round Women’s National Invitational Tournament win over Monmouth. She was a game-time decision Monday, and although Morrow did score nine points and dish out four assists, the brace clearly affected her throughout the game.
‘It’s a little different,’ Morrow said. ‘I’ve never had to play with one before. It just slides up and down and that’s all the Velcro loops aren’t tightened. … It’s just something that takes getting used to.’
Morrow was a step slower than normal against St. Bonaventure but didn’t let the brace negatively affect her performance. Her nine points came on two full-court run-outs, a wide-open 3 and two free throws.
And for a team like the Orange that relies heavily on its interior scoring, it didn’t need a huge game from its senior guard.
‘It’s perfect within the flow of our offense how I feel,’ Morrow said. ‘I’m just going to continue to get treatment and just keep rehabbing it.’
Other than that turnover on the first possession of the game, she only coughed the ball up once more throughout the day.
‘For her to not actually go live until a couple days ago,’ head coach Quentin Hillsman said. ‘And play 29 minutes and go live and do things that she didn’t do before tonight was really big for us. I thought just getting our (starting) five back together on the floor was huge.’
Morrow’s return also allowed her teammates to go back to the positions they had played all year.
In the win over Monmouth, freshman Rachel Coffey started at point guard and played 22 minutes against the Hawks. When she sat in that game, Tasha Harris and Elashier Hall, SU’s shooting guard and small forward, respectively, rotated at the point.
Coffey did not play Monday, and both Harris and Hall saw significantly less time at point guard.
‘It’s an adjustment,’ Hall said. ‘Never done it on this level. It’s definitely an adjustment to make. I’m going to keep working on it, of course, in practice against my teammates. But just to get out there and play against other defenders and other teams, it was different.’
Hall said she was happy to have Morrow back on the court. And although the brace did not lead to many mistakes by the senior, it did bother her throughout the game.
At one point in the first half, referees had to stop play so she could adjust the brace before an inbounds play. She continued to fidget with it throughout the first half as it slid off her knee and down her leg.
On her first bucket of the game, two Bonnies nearly caught Morrow from behind on a breakaway layup. As she neared the left side of the rim, she jumped off of both feet instead of going off her right leg but still did lay it in off the glass.
Coming out of halftime, she took just one layup off her left leg before the rest of the team ran out of the tunnel. After that, she just jogged slowly along the sidelines to warm up.
But even though she was not at 100 percent, Hillsman said she did have a positive effect on the Orange’s performance.
‘It was huge, and I give her a lot of credit with her toughness,’ Hillsman said. ‘Because she could just say, ‘I’m done.’ But she refuses to quit. She continues to come out and play. I think that her presence means so much on the floor.’
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