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Syracuse survives toughest test of season with win over DePaul

first_img Related Stories Women’s basketball overcomes “bumps and bruises” to defeat DePaulGallery: Syracuse beats DePaul 84-80 Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on January 16, 2013 at 12:48 am Contact Kevin: kmprisei@syr.educenter_img With just more than a minute left, Carmen Tyson-Thomas received the ball after an inbounds pass and dribbled down the court as the shot clock wound down. With Syracuse clinging to a one-point lead, making the most of the possession was imperative.Forced into a hurried 3-point attempt just before the clock expired, Tyson-Thomas couldn’t get the shot to fall. But Kayla Alexander was well positioned to grab the rebound, leading to a second-chance bucket for Tyson-Thomas that expanded Syracuse’s lead to three.The crucial rebound and subsequent basket helped the Orange come away with a tight 84-80 victory over DePaul (13-5, 2-2 Big East) in front of 450 fans in the Carrier Dome Tuesday. The win, SU’s eighth in a row, moves Syracuse to 15-1 on the season, 3-0 in conference play heading into Saturday afternoon’s matchup with perennial powerhouse Connecticut.“Our team just keeps fighting,” SU head coach Quentin Hillsman said. “We see that fight as we go into these games. They just continue to compete.”Watch: Hillsman, players discuss Syracuse’s win over the Blue DemonsAdvertisementThis is placeholder textBefore Tuesday night, the first seven games of Syracuse’s winning streak were all won by 13 points or more. Aside from close battles with future Atlantic Coast Conference rivals Georgia Tech and Virginia in November’s San Juan Shootout, the Orange hadn’t had a true down-to-the-wire test.That changed Tuesday. DePaul showed poise early on the road, taking advantage of SU’s soft-perimeter defense to shoot 8-for-18 from 3-point range in the first half. DePaul’s fast-paced offensive attack kept the Orange on its heels as the Blue Demons led 46-40 at the break.Syracuse responded immediately after halftime with a 7-0 run, taking a 47-46 lead. But DePaul refused to go away. During the middle of the second half, many SU possessions lasted less than 15 seconds with players taking and missing quick shots. DePaul took a 65-59 lead with less than 10 minutes to play.“We got some open shots off initial catches,” Hillsman said. “They might not have been the shot that we wanted on that possession, but it’s tough to tell your team to not take open shots.”Despite the lack of experience in close games this season, SU has an abundance of veteran leadership, and it came through at the end. Along with critical plays by seniors Tyson-Thomas and Alexander down the stretch, junior Rachel Coffey stepped up with two free throws to put the Orange up 83-78 with 32 seconds left.After a DePaul basket made the score 83-80 with 16 seconds left, Tyson-Thomas was fouled and made it a two-possession game with a free throw with 10 seconds remaining. After going 2-for-6 from the line in the first half, the Orange responded with a 19-for-24 effort after the break. For the game, Alexander and Elashier Hall combined to go 11-for-14 from the line.“I think you just have to adjust when it’s close,” Coffey said. “Even in blowouts, you have to play like it’s close. …We’ve kind of all been in every situation.”With the win, the Orange has now tied the best start in program history, as well as its best Big East start. Syracuse’s only loss so far is to Temple, a 74-67 decision Dec. 2.It doesn’t get any easier for SU this weekend. Syracuse travels to No. 3 Connecticut, but the team is looking forward to the challenge. Coming off of a 30-point-blowout win over Georgetown Saturday, which snapped a seven-game losing streak to the Hoyas, the Orange showed Tuesday that it could come away with a narrow victory when things get tight.The poise under pressure should serve the team well down the stretch, Hillsman said.“They’re hard-nosed kids,” Hillsman said. “They play for a coach who just keeps pushing them and keeps pushing them, because I know the toughest team will always win. I give them a lot of credit, and I’m just really happy to be where we are right now.” Commentslast_img read more

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Women of Troy set to host LMU in conference battle

first_imgAfter suffering a heartbreaking 9-5 loss last week to Stanford in a 2013 National Championship rematch, snapping a 27-game winning streak dating back to last season, the USC women’s water polo team wasted no time starting a new winning streak on Sunday.O Captain! · Senior Kaleigh Gilchrist scored two goals against UC Irvine on Sunday, enough to move her up to No. 13 on USC’s all-time scoring list. – Corey Marquetti | Daily TrojanThe No. 2 Women of Troy (21-1, 4-1 MPSF) jumped back into the pool in the comforts of the Uytengsu Aquatics Center against No. 6 UC Irvine, coming away with a 16-5 victory. The Anteaters (17-7) entered the contest on a seven-game winning streak of their own that was brought to a sudden halt.After trading goals early on, the Cardinal and Gold were able to extend a 4-2 first quarter lead into a 10-2 halftime advantage. Senior two-meter Colleen O’Donnell tallied a first-half hat trick to lead the Women of Troy into intermission.Unlike the second period, the Anteaters thwarted the USC attack to begin the third quarter. Both teams registered three goals in the eight-minute period, bringing the score to 13-5. The fourth period, though, was no contest for the Women of Troy.In the quarter, junior two-meter Eike Daube tallied a career-high fifth goal of the match and junior driver Monica Vavic picked up a hat trick of her own, propelling her to sole possession of fifth place in scoring in program history. The Women of Troy polished off the visiting UCI bunch, 16-5.“It’s great to see Eike step up as a junior,” said senior captain Kaleigh Gilchrist. “We saw sparks of it freshman and sophomore year, and then for her to take on a completely different role this year is awesome because we need as many people as possible.”Though the offense proved dominant across the board, it was the stellar play on the defensive end of the pool that kept the Women of Troy ahead. The dynamic defense blanked the Anteaters on the scoreboard in both the second and final quarter. Anchoring the defensive unit was senior goalie Flora Bolonyai, who recorded 13 saves.“Flora has been our team’s best player, in my opinion,” said Gilchrist, who punched in two goals in the victory. “To have someone that great with that much experience in the cage is awesome.”The USC victory on Sunday brings the overall series record against UCI to an astonishing 22-3.“It’s just really important to bounce back after a tough loss and get refocused and realize that we still have a lot of work to do in a short amount of time,” Gilchrist said. “I think that we were able to do that and prove it against UCI. We just want to keep the momentum alive after the UCI win.”The Women of Troy now have their sights on extending this new win streak as they prepare to face off against No. 11 Loyola Marymount (17-10) on Thursday afternoon at the Uytengsu Aquatics Center.The Lions enter the match winning four of their last five games, with the sole loss coming at the hands of a San Diego State goal with 0.2 seconds remaining on the clock. With Loyola hungry to avenge the tough loss, the Women of Troy are prepared for a grueling game.“We still have a lot of areas to work on so we will just be focusing on that in practice,” Gilchrist said. “We only have two practices before the LMU game so we need to stay really focused and hopefully execute on Thursday.”Tomorrow’s game is the second-to-last regular season contest before USC plays host to the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament. The game is slated to start at 4:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks.last_img read more