WBB : Offensive ineptitude in 2nd straight game leads to SU loss at Rutgers
For the second game in a row, Syracuse head coach Quentin Hillsman pointed to the same problem. It wasn’t the game plan. That worked and was executed well.
It was the inability to make shots. Just like SU’s game against Notre Dame on Tuesday, Hillsman said his squad simply didn’t knock down enough of them against Rutgers on Sunday.
‘We got good looks,’ Hillsman said in a phone interview after Sunday’s 54-47 loss to the Scarlet Knights. ‘We got good looks, and when you get those kinds of looks, you have to make shots. We really did a good job of executing. We just didn’t finish the plays off.’
After scoring just 48 points in that game against the Irish, Syracuse (16-6, 4-5 Big East) registered its second lowest scoring output of the year against Rutgers (13-9, 6-3 Big East) on Sunday in Piscataway, N.J. A horrid shooting stretch to open the game combined with a slew of second-half turnovers ultimately doomed the Orange. Iasia Hemingway and Kayla Alexander were the only SU players in double figures, and the rest of the team shot just 5-of-26 from the field.
SU finished shooting 29 percent, its second game in a row shooting below 30 percent. Nineteen turnovers led to 21 points for the Scarlet Knights. Syracuse’s starting guards Erica Morrow, Tasha Harris and Elashier Hall finished with seven points combined.
‘Erica and Lacy (Hall) and Tasha have to make open shots,’ Hillsman said. ‘We have to get those guys scoring the ball. If they don’t score, we’re going to face major, major problems in these games.’
Harris’ 3-pointer on the Orange’s second possession of the game was SU’s only field goal through the first 11 minutes of action. Syracuse missed 12 straight shots and was held scoreless for more than seven minutes during that stretch. The Scarlet Knights quickly jumped out to a 16-6 lead while the SU offense floundered.
But the Orange turned things around by pounding the ball inside. A 10-0 run evened the score at 16. The struggles from the field continued, but Syracuse went 10-of-12 from the charity stripe in the first 20 minutes.
And with two seconds left in the half, Hemingway converted an and-one opportunity to give SU a 25-24 lead, its first since Harris’ 3-pointer more than 18 minutes earlier.
‘I thought they did a good job of weathering the storm and competing,’ Hillsman said. ‘To go in at halftime up by one point, shooting (23) percent, was definitely a victory for us.’
Coming out of the break, SU looked ready to run away from the Scarlet Knights. Seven straight points extended the Orange lead to eight.
But then came the turnovers. Rutgers went on an 11-2 run over the next seven minutes, aided by six of Syracuse’s 13 second-half turnovers. The game went back and forth until SU pulled in front 42-39 with 4:25 left. On the ensuing possession, RU guard Khadijah Rushdan knocked down a jumper to pull the Scarlet Knights within one.
That’s when the Orange’s offensive woes ultimately handed the game to Rutgers. Four straight Syracuse possessions ended in turnovers. And RU capitalized on three of those extra opportunities to take a 47-42 lead with one minute left.
‘It was tough obviously because if we would have just not turned the ball over and got shots, I think we would have been in good shape because we could have went back and got our defense set up,’ Hillsman said. ‘At the end of the game, we have to take care of the ball, finish games and we have to get shots.’
Two Alexander free throws pulled SU within three. But Rutgers guard Erica Wheeler drained a 3-pointer with 12 seconds left to put the game out of reach.
And for the second game in a row, an ugly offensive display led to an Orange loss.
‘I thought we had a good game plan in place and thought that our players really executed our offense really well and executed our defense really well,’ Hillsman said. ‘But we shot 29 percent, so we just didn’t make shots.’
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