No. 17 Syracuse loses 3-point shootout with No. 1 Oregon, 81-64

first_imgOn the first possession of the second quarter, Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi collected an offensive rebound and kicked a pass out to the top of the key to Kiara Lewis for a wide-open, catch-and-shoot 3. Two more 3-pointers on SU’s next pair of possessions meant Lewis had gone on a personal 9-0 run to give the Orange a 24-15 lead, their biggest of the night. “I just took what they gave me,” Lewis, who scored a career-high 23 points, said. By the time Emily Engstler drilled a 3-pointer from the wing three minutes later, SU had attempted 20 3-pointers compared to six field goals from inside the arc. By halftime, Syracuse had gone 7-for-24 from deep and trailed No. 1 Oregon by one. SU made the game a 3-point contest, and it was working. But in the second half, the Ducks (4-0) took the 3 away from No. 17 Syracuse (3-1). By running shooters off the arc and forcing them to drive, Oregon held SU to three makes on 11 3-point shots in the second half. The Ducks, on the other end, sunk the open looks they missed in the first half. Oregon outscored Syracuse 31-16 in the third quarter, sinking 54% of its second-half 3-pointers on its way to a 81-64 win. “We kind of just played in our flow and kind of forgot about all our shots we had missed earlier,” Oregon senior Sabrina Ionescu said. “I think that really helped us and that third quarter was probably the best that we’ve played offensively in a really long time.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSyracuse head coach Quentin Hillsman tells just about everyone on his team to shoot 3-pointers when they’re open. It’s part of his coaching philosophy. But it was clear SU was taking that message to an extreme in the first quarter, when Djaldi-Tabdi shot three 3-pointers in the first quarter alone. Though the backup center has been working to expand her range, Djaldi-Tabdi entered Sunday’s contest with two prior attempts this year. The Orange shot 12 triples in both the first and second quarters, making seven of them. The combination of a high volume of 3s and a defense that held Ionescu scoreless for nearly 15 minutes led fans in the Carrier Dome to give SU a standing ovation as the team ran into the locker room for halftime. To separate from the Orange after halftime, the Ducks relied on their own 3-point barrage. Oregon head coach Kelly Graves called the Ducks’ first-half offense “stagnant,” but Ionescu opened the floor in the second half by attracting SU defenders into the paint like a magnet and dishing to open shooters. Two of the reigning Wooden Award winner’s six assists led to Oregon 3s. Erin Boley (19 points, 5-for-9 from 3) and Satou Sabally (23 points, 4-for-10 from 3) often finished possessions that started with Ionescu, who averages a triple double.“We were just helping too much,” Hillsman said. “We really talked about staying home on penetration. And I give (Ionescu) credit. She did a really good job attacking the paint, drawing our defenders, sucking them in a little bit and making good passes.”  When SU locked down Oregon’s shooters, Ionescu had more space to score inside. Thirty seconds into the third quarter, Ionescu dribbled into Syracuse’s zone and looked to kick out to a shooter, but the Orange zone extended out. So instead, Ionescu, who finished with 19 points, lofted in a floater. To end the third quarter, Sabally sunk a 3-pointer from the right corner while getting fouled. Though the Ducks junior missed her free throw, she followed the shot and collected it, eventually finding Ionescu for a buzzer-beating 3. Six points, all in one possession, gave the Ducks a 16-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.Ionescu said SU didn’t play Oregon any differently in the second half. Instead, the Ducks simply took their offense “to another level.” In total, Oregon went 7-for-13 from 3 in the second half, while SU’s offense sputtered out. Syracuse’s 35 attempts were slightly more than its season average of 29.6, but the Orange shot a worse percentage (28.6%) than their usual 32.5%. At the end of one possession, Lewis had to force a contested pull-up 3, which she airballed. In transition, Digna Strautmane’s catch-and-shoot triple was too strong. With the game decided late in the fourth, Djaldi-Tabdi jab-stepped then shot a 3-pointer from the corner, which clanked off the iron. In the fourth quarter, SU never got within single digits. The Ducks solved the Orange’s 3-point attack and found an effective recipe for SU’s 2-3 zone with deep-balls of their own. That combination pushed SU to 0-18 all-time versus No. 1-ranked opponents and led Hillsman to open his press conference with a statement about how disappointed he was in his team’s third quarter and how moral victories don’t exist.  “There’s some good things offensively in that first half,” Hillsman said. “But at the end of the day, it just wasn’t enough in the second half to win the game.”  Comments Published on November 24, 2019 at 8:44 pm Contact Danny: dremerma@syr.edu | @DannyEmerman Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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