WBB : Gobuty tallies 8 straight off bench to key decisive SU run
In her postgame press conference Saturday afternoon, Kim Barnes Arico tried to tell the media which Syracuse player stood out in her mind. The St. John’s women’s basketball head coach remembered exactly whom she was talking about and saw the made baskets, one after another.
Now if only she knew how to pronounce her name.
‘That young lady, what’s her name?’ Barnes Arico said. ‘Goboody? Goobody?’
Coach, it’s Gobuty (pronounced ‘ga-BODY’), a reporter interrupted, referring to Syracuse freshman guard Marisa Gobuty.
‘Yeah, there you go. She came in and hit, whatever, three straight shots,’ Barnes Arico continued. ‘…I thought it was tremendous. It was a real big run. … That was big time right there.’
Gobuty scored a career-high eight points in a 96-second span in the Orange’s 80-52 blowout win over St. John’s on Saturday. Though three other players scored at least 14, Barnes Arico singled out Gobuty’s surprise performance as a major offensive key for Syracuse.
At the start of Gobuty’s run, the Orange led by nine, and the Red Storm was very much still in the game. When it ended less than two minutes later, SU had a commanding 17-point lead, and St. John’s wouldn’t compete again.
With so much defensive attention given by St. John’s to forwards Nicole Michael and Chandrea Jones, nobody expected the 5-foot-7 freshman averaging about 10 minutes per game to provide such a spark. But for the first time in her Syracuse career, she came out firing.
That attitude is mostly due to Syracuse head coach Quentin Hillsman, who has implored the guard to have more confidence in her shot recently.
‘It feels good to know (Hillsman) expects things of me, and he wants me to contribute to this team,’ Gobuty said. ‘That’s the most important part for me. When I go onto the floor, I wanna contribute, and he’s helping me do that.’
Gobuty checked into the game for the second time at the 6:50 mark after missing her first 3-point attempt badly eight minutes earlier. A minute later, Syracuse had an inbounds play from the baseline. Instead of looking for Michael down low, like SU often does in those situations, Morrow lofted a long pass to Gobuty coming off a screen. This time, the 3 was on the mark.
On the ensuing Orange possession, Fantasia Goodwin ran a fast break and found Gobuty streaking into the corner for an open 15-footer.
Then came the kicker: Tracy Harbut intercepted a pass, dribbled down the court and kicked it out to Gobuty setting up for another 3. Once again, the shot swished through, igniting the Syracuse crowd to arguably its loudest point all game. St. John’s called a timeout, and there was Hillsman pumping his fist like a madman on the sideline before lifting her off the ground in a giant bear hug.
‘Every time she doesn’t shoot an open shot, I take her out,’ Hillsman said. ‘She can shoot it and stay in or not shoot it and sit on the bench. She doesn’t even have to think about it.’
Gobuty started the season in Hillsman’s rotation, playing more than 20 minutes in two of the first four games. But she started her collegiate career 2-of-17 from the floor and missed her first 10 3s. With the missed shots piling up, her confidence – and her minutes – began to shrink. When she did get in the game, Gobuty rarely looked for her shot, instead catching the ball and immediately passing it out to a teammate.
Recently, though, she’s started to take advantage of her limited opportunities. After starting 0-of-10 from deep, she’s connected on 7 of her last 13 tries, including the two on Saturday.
Lately, Hillsman has implemented a series of rules and goals for Gobuty, trying to get the highly touted recruit on track. He set a certain shooting percentage from the field and 3-point range, which he will not divulge, and expects Gobuty to match that benchmark by the end of the year. By taking Gobuty out when she passes up an open shot, Hillsman hopes she will realize just how much confidence he has in her.
‘I’m not worried about her coming in and making plays,’ Hillsman said. ‘She’s gonna make plays. As long as she takes good open shots, she’s gonna make 75 percent of them, honestly.’
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