Late run fuels SU women’s basketball’s comeback victory against Northeastern

first_img Published on November 14, 2010 at 12:00 pm Contact Michael: [email protected] | @Michael_Cohen13 Comments Iasia Hemingway absorbed the contact and made the layup. She turned away from the basket and yelled, pumping her fist in aberration. ‘I think it was just me being excited,’ Hemingway said. ‘And letting my teammates know that I had their backs regardless.’ Her basket with just fewer than nine minutes left in the game Saturday ended Syracuse’s field goal drought of 5:58. It came at a time when her team faced a double-digit deficit. Down 10 to a Northeastern team picked to finish last in the Colonial Athletic Association, Hemingway gave the Orange the emotional spark it needed. Hemingway’s layup fueled a 13-0 Syracuse run that willed the Orange (1-0) to a comeback 72-69 victory over Northeastern (0-1) Friday. That 2:39 burst gave SU its first lead in nearly 27 minutes of game time to win a game that head coach Quentin Hillsman called ‘ugly.’ SU persevered despite turning the ball over 29 times and giving up 14 3-point baskets to the Huskies.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text What made that run possible was the Orange’s domination of Northeastern on the offensive glass. Syracuse racked up six of its 28 second-half offensive rebounds during that spurt and converted them into eight second-chance points. ‘When you look at the stats of getting 37 (total) offensive rebounds,’ Hillsman said. ‘That’s a monster number.’ And right there on the glass was Hemingway. She grabbed two of her team-high six offensive rebounds during her team’s run and poured in five of the 13 points. By attacking the glass relentlessly, she created more chances for her team on a night when it struggled shooting the ball. ‘They call me ‘Baby Barkley’ for a reason,’ she said. ‘That’s what I do. I attack that rim, and I just go for any rebound that I could possibly get.’ But if it wasn’t for Hemingway’s play in the second half, Syracuse never would have won Friday’s game. She poured in 11 of her team-high 17 points in the second period, along with four offensive rebounds. She brought her team back from a miserable first half in which the Orange could hardly get the ball over half court. Against Northeastern’s full-court press — the same one SU uses — Syracuse turned the ball over constantly. Last year’s team averaged 18.4 turnovers per game. SU had 18 turnovers in the first half alone on Friday. ‘That press is our press,’ Hillsman said. ‘We run that every day in practice. So when we were throwing the ball away against that press, it was kind of mind-boggling.’ Yet not turning the ball over is what made that 13-0 run possible. Without a made basket, the Huskies couldn’t set up their press. For that entire 2:39, the Orange didn’t turn the ball over once. Prior to that run, Hillsman utilized the media timeout in a way different from his usual coaching style. The white board he uses to diagram plays and scenarios was left sitting on the floor. Instead, he preached a message of belief in his team. Overcoming a double-digit deficit would be more of a test of heart. Put simply, his players responded. Their 13-0 run was complemented by a defense that finally buckled down on Northeastern’s shooters. Rachael Pecota, who had a game-high 25 points, was limited to just three in the game’s final 10 minutes. ‘I told them in the huddle, I said, ‘Guys, I’m not panicking. We’re not going to lose the basketball game,” Hillsman said. ‘I wish I could say that I did something great. But my kids did that something great.’ In a game in which Syracuse had to claw just to escape with a win, Hillsman learned something about his team. For the first time in five years, he said, he learned to trust the level of talent out on the court. So even though his star player — Erica Morrow — was held scoreless until the game’s final four minutes, and even though his team had more turnovers than made field goals, Hillsman wasn’t nervous. For the game’s first 30 minutes, his team was outplayed. But when his players needed to get the job done, they did. ‘Just to know that we could come together at the end among ourselves,’ Morrow said. ‘That just makes me more excited about how far we can possibly go. ‘We got the ‘W,’ and that’s really all that matters.’ [email protected]center_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more