Breakout offense, early run help Syracuse bury Pittsburgh

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Syracuse’s defense swarmed Ashlee Anderson in the corner. Elashier Hall and Shakeya Leary came with the double team. With the shot clock winding down, the guard forced up a shot, but Hall got a hand on it. and grabbed the ball out of the air. Hall fired a pass down the court to Brittney Sykes who leaped to grab the ball one-handed before turning and sending a pass of her own cross-court to a streaking Cornelia Fondren for the easy layup.“We told our team that we’ve got to start getting some easy baskets and we’ve got to start getting some runouts and we’ve got to start getting up the floor,” Syracuse head coach Quentin Hillsman said. “And I thought that today we did a very good job of doing that, getting some leakouts and getting up the floor. So we’ve got to just give our players credit for committing to running the floor hard every possession.”The No. 23 Orange (21-3, 9-2 Big East) used that transition-minded offensive approach to race out to an early lead against Pittsburgh (9-15, 0-11) and cruise to an 80-39 win. It was plays like Fondren’s layup that ignited the crowd of 1,355 as a pink uniform-clad SU stormed out of the gates, scoring 10 of its first 13 points in transition, and putting the Panthers away in the first half.Fondren powered SU’s transition offense, tallying six assists in 20 minutes of action – a near-identical scoring line to senior guard Rachel Coffey’s. She also finished with six assists in 20 minutes.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAfter a scoreless first two minutes, Brianna Butler curled around a screen for a 3-pointer to score the first three points of the game. Then the Orange came alive. Less than 15 seconds later Sykes came away with a steal, but missed the transition layup. Fondren was right there to clean up, though, and give Syracuse a sudden 5-0 lead.“It starts with the frontcourt,” SU center Kayla Alexander said. “Our guards, they were getting after it, they were getting their hands in the lanes, getting some pickoffs.”Fewer than 20 more seconds passed before another Orange steal. This time it was Hall taking the ball away from Panthers guard Loliya Briggs and knocking down the transition layup, forcing a Pitt timeout.Briggs finally got Pittsburgh on the board on the ensuing possession, but even off the Panthers’ makes SU pushed the ball.Fondren took an inbounds pass and raced down the right sideline. Coming down the left side was Sykes, who Fondren found cutting for an easy layup and a quick answer to Pitt’s first basket of the game. Three straight transition buckets set the tone early.“We had to get transition points, start off early, we can’t start slow,” Fondren said. “So that’s what we did, we started off good and we made it happen.”Alexander scored her first basket on Syracuse’s next possession, and the Orange followed it up with Hall’s block, Sykes’ assist and Fondren’s transition layup. SU scored on six straight possessions and in fewer than three minutes built a 13-4 lead that Pittsburgh never recovered from.Syracuse’s lead would balloon to as large as 24 points in the first half with 11 points from La’Shay Taft, and culminated with the 41-point victory thanks to a near-triple double by Alexander.But in the early goings it was Fondren running the Orange’s fast-break offense. As a freshman it’s something she’s improved on all season long, and she matched her career high with six assists because of it.Said Hillsman: “I’m just happy that we have two point guards and they can both be on the floor and make plays for us.” Comments Related Stories Taft’s first-half burst keys Orange blowout of Pantherscenter_img Published on February 16, 2013 at 5:36 pm Contact David: [email protected] | @DBWilson2last_img

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