WBB : Strong shooting performance from guards Morrow, Harris help SU pull away in 2nd half

first_imgHARTFORD, Conn. Quentin Hillsman called this one of the more complete games that his starting guards have put together. For just the second time in five weeks, Erica Morrow and Tasha Harris combined for more than 20 points. And it couldn’t have come at a better time.‘I thought that Erica and Tasha probably played one of the more complete games they’ve played all year as far as taking care of the ball and being strong and making great decisions,’ said the SU head coach Hillsman.After a stretch of games in which SU eeked out four wins in five games behind scoring from its interior players, the contributions of Morrow and Harris led to the first dominant win since Feb. 12 against Villanova.The senior duo combined for 21 points Friday in Syracuse’s 74-44 victory over Seton Hall in the first round of the Big East tournament in the XL Center. The scoring of Morrow and Harris fueled a 12-1 run to start the second half that allowed SU to pull away for its most lopsided conference victory of the season.After a first half in which the Pirates hung around courtesy of defensive mistakes by the Orange, the guards quickly put the game out of reach just minutes into the second. A nine-point advantage grew to 20 after less than five minutes of play.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text‘We came out of halftime feeling like we had to pack it in a bit since Alexander and Hemingway had 22, I think, of their 33 points in the first half,’ Seton Hall coach Anne Donovan said. ‘Then they came right out and killed it from the 3-point line, so right away that game plan went out the window.’In this case, ‘they’ was Morrow and Harris. The latter opened the second half with a 3-pointer from the top of the key. One possession later, Iasia Hemingway drew a double team at the free-throw line and found Morrow wide open in the left corner for another 3. This triggered the run that put the game out of reach.Overall, the pair finished the game a perfect 4-of-4 from beyond the arc. That led the SU offense to match its best shooting performance of the season from long range. Syracuse finished 6-of-12 to equal the 50 percent it shot against St. Francis back on Dec. 28.And for a team that came into the game dead last in the conference and 244th out of 279 teams nationally, the 3-point percentage was a surprising performance.‘Historically, that hasn’t been something that they’ve been successful with,’ Donovan said.All of Harris’ nine points were courtesy of 3-pointers. She tallied a season-high nine points but has still failed to reach double figures this season.After that opening streak to start the half, SU’s interior players had more space inside. Donovan said that her guards couldn’t pack it in as much defensively, which took pressure off the Orange’s trio of Hemingway, Kayla Alexander and Shakeya Leary.Those three players netted 12 points in the game’s final 15 minutes once Morrow and Harris had loosened up the defense from the outside.‘Our post players have been our bread and butter,’ Morrow said. ‘They’ve been the key to our offense this year, so to take the pressure off them a little bit we as guards need to hit shots from the outside just to spread the defense out a little more to give Kayla and Iasia open looks under the basket.’In spite of the outburst by Morrow and Harris, Hillsman insists that his team’s offensive focus will not change. All season long, his guards have looked to throw the ball inside first and shoot second.It’s gotten them 22 wins so far, and he sees no reason to change. If the Orange’s opponents can shut down the inside game, then so be it. But at least now other teams have something else to think about defensively.‘We’re going to do what we do and that’s throw the ball to the high post and throw the ball down low,’ Hillsman said. ‘If anybody stops that, they’re going to probably win the basketball game.‘But obviously with our wings now hitting some shots, you can’t help off of us as much. And that’s going to make us a little bit tougher.’[email protected] Comments Published on March 3, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Michael: [email protected] | @Michael_Cohen13center_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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