WBB : Alexander dominates in paint to lead Syracuse to win over Temple in WNIT

first_img Comments Quentin Hillsman knew that Temple was going to come out with guns blazing, but the Syracuse head coach also recognized that the game was going to be decided by how Syracuse responded.The Owls opened up a 12-7 lead less than four minutes into the game, but Syracuse center Kayla Alexander took over. She scored five points as part of an 8-2 SU run to swing the momentum in Syracuse’s favor.And after Alexander’s dominance in the low post began, the Orange held that momentum for the rest of the game.‘Kayla just did a really good job of getting post position, and I’ve got to give her a lot of credit for that,’ Hillsman said. ‘She made a point to get herself deep in the post and they played, and we just did a really good job of getting the ball to her.’Alexander, SU’s 6-foot-4 center, dominated in the paint for the Orange, scoring 29 points on 12-of-18 shooting to carry the Orange (21-14) to an 82-68 win over Temple (23-10) in the third round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament in Philadelphia on Thursday. The win marked the third consecutive season that SU has advanced into the quarterfinals of the WNIT.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Orange will play Toledo on the road on Saturday at 2 p.m.After both teams struggled to take control of the game in the first half, the Orange was finally able to wrestle the game away from the Owls coming out of halftime. SU used a series of small runs to seize control.The Owls had gotten by their first two opponents in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament by more than 15 points, but Syracuse looked to match Temple’s production with a superior attack in the paint.Temple forward Nikki Works hit two free throws to put the Owls up 43-42 with 14:30 remaining in the second half, but  SU guard Carmen Tyson-Thomas hit two straight jumpers, and then Alexander added a basket to give the Orange a six-point lead.And as the Temple offense slowed, SU’s offense picked up. A 14-3 run gave the Orange its first double-digit lead with 10:16 to play.‘I thought it was about two things,’ Hillsman said. ‘We shot the ball really well and we did a decent job of guarding, I thought we had two or three possessions where they got some shots but for the most part we were pretty steady in the second half with our defensive scoring.’And down the stretch, Alexander continued to keep the game out of reach. After Temple cut the lead to 61-54 with less than eight minutes to play, the SU center scored nine consecutive points for SU to preserve the lead.The Orange got a balanced offensive output from across the floor. Behind Alexander, Tyson-Thomas contributed 15 points, forward Iasia Hemingway added 13 points and guard Elashier Hall provided 11 points to keep the Owls off-balance on defense.Point guard Rachel Coffey dished out eight assists to key an offensive outburst by SU in the second half. The Orange shot a blistering 18-of-33 from the field to pull away and close out the game.‘They did a very good job of getting the ball moving and one of the things that we talked about in the game was letting the ball move itself,’ Hillsman said. ‘I thought as they got the ball moving we really got them on their heels and were able to get the ball inside to Kayla one-on-one.’After three consecutive blowout wins in the opening rounds of the WNIT, Hillsman truly believes that SU’s momentum could lead to big things.‘It’s really just about doing the things that we did the last three games,’ Hillsman said. ‘It’s all about being aggressive and throwing the ball inside and if we continue to do that we have a chance to win this thing.’[email protected] Published on March 22, 2012 at 12:00 pmcenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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