first_imgIt took less than three minutes for Syracuse to establish its gameplan on Tuesday night.After the Orange won the opening tip, Digna Strautmane found a wide-open Emily Engstler at the top of the arc. She shot and sunk a 3-pointer. Less than a minute later, Strautmane misfired one of her own. The Orange’s next three times down the court ended in two missed 3-pointers and a turnover.Early on, it looked like SU’s strategy of relying on the long ball wasn’t going to work. With a minute left in the first quarter, the Orange were 2-for-9 from beyond the arc. But quick long balls from Strautmane and Gabrielle Cooper in the final minute of the quarter gave No. 20 Syracuse (2-0) a lead it never surrendered in a 65-50 win over Maryland Eastern Shore (1-2) on Tuesday night in the Carrier Dome. The Orange shot 37 threes, a mark it surpassed just three times all of last season and 10 more than in their season opener versus Ohio. But its 14 makes accounted for almost 65% of SU’s points.“We’re a great shooting team,” Engstler said. “It was our gameplan going in, but they definitely were not guarding us that well.”Syracuse typically does not rely on making a high number of threes. It averaged 9.2 makes on 27.2 three-point attempts per game last season, and that was with Tiana Mangakahia and SU’s all-time leading 3-point shooter Miranda Drummond as its primary scorers. Cooper and Strautmane averaged 5.2 and 4.3 three-point attempts per game in 2018-19, respectively. Through two games this year, Cooper has attempted 19 3-pointers while Strautmane has 14, including nine on Tuesday.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAll but two of SU’s 14 points in the first quarter came from beyond the arc. Engstler sunk two while Strautmane and Cooper each tallied one. Of the 10 players head coach Quentin Hillsman used in the first 12 minutes of the game, six attempted a three.“We had to take what they gave us, and they were in the zone for the entire game,” Hillsman said. Syracuse’s two made threes to end the first quarter didn’t carry over into the second, though. Strautmane and Engstler each missed deep attempts, and with seven minutes remaining in the half, the Orange held a one-point lead. Then, Taleah Washington provided the spark SU needed to pull away.Following the under-five minute media timeout, Washington swished a three from the left wing, giving SU a six-point lead. The Orange forced a shot clock violation on the Hawks’ next possession, then found the freshman in the same spot moments later. Another make.“Anytime we can stretch the floor, make threes and make shots, we’re gonna be tough to deal with,” Hillsman said. “And (Taleah) is a good player, she can shoot the ball with range.”Syracuse shot 7-for-19 from three in the first half, but its two main threats from deep — Strautmane and Cooper — struggled. The two combined to shoot 2-for-7 from deep through two quarters. During the second quarter, Hillsman challenged Strautmane, who admitted that opting not to shoot when her shots aren’t falling “is an issue with her.” He told her she had to be confident and keep shooting.Strautmane was a new player in the second half. The 6-foot-2 forward drilled four of five 3-point attempts in the second half and ended as the Orange’s leading scorer with 17 points. Several of her threes came from the corners, where she would peel off the low block and take the space the Hawks were giving her. In each of her second-half attempts, Strautmane didn’t hesitate — she just let it fly.“I want to be more consistent,” Strautmane said. “… I have to grow out of it, I have to be more efficient. Coach told me to shoot, so I was just shooting.”By the end of the third quarter, Syracuse held a 17-point lead and had started shooting threes on the majority of its possessions. The Orange’s ball movement improved in the second half, Cooper said, which gave them more open looks. Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi, who attempted three 3-pointers and made none last season, even tacked on one of her own. SU had its best 3-point shooting quarter in the fourth, making four of its nine attempts (44.4%). Hillsman noted that Syracuse’s abundance of 3-point attempts were due to the space Maryland Eastern Shore was allowing. Engstler noticed the Hawks were giving her “10 feet” of space to start the game, which allowed her to knock down the first of SU’s 14 made threes. The Orange won’t rely on the 3-ball in every game this season, but when they have to, they have the pieces to do it.“If we have the ball open on the three-point line, we are shooting it every time,” Engstler said. Comments Published on November 12, 2019 at 11:52 pm Contact David: [email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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