first_imgIn a crouch on the sideline, Quentin Hillsman watched intently as his Syracuse team prepared to inbound the ball from under the basket.After Elashier Hall’s errant pass was easily stolen, about midway through the second half, Hillsman pounded the floor three times in frustration as the Orange continued to let an inferior Coppin State team hang around.On SU’s next possession, Hillsman was still there in the same position with the same expression to see Shanee Williams dribble a crossover off her foot for another turnover. Finally, 53 seconds after the first aggravating turnover by Hall, Hillsman got out of his crouch to instruct the Orange as it came down for another offensive possession.‘Obviously, you can’t turn the ball over 27 times,’ Hillsman said. ‘I thought our turnovers is what made the game the way it did. We just didn’t take care of the ball very well. We just have to take care of the ball better.’Syracuse’s (7-3, 0-1 Big East) careless play throughout its game against Coppin State (2-7) allowed the inferior Eagles to hang around in the Orange’s 56-50 win on Saturday in front of 631 in the Carrier Dome. SU never found its rhythm offensively all game, but used an 18-5 run to close out the first half to help it overcome a sloppy performance. The 14-point cushion the Orange had at halftime proved to be crucial for the team to hold off a late charge by Coppin State and hang on for the win.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Orange’s struggles offensively were apparent from the start.A little over a minute into the game, La’Shay Taft gathered a loose ball at the top of the key off a horrendous pass by CSU forward Crystal Whittington and took off into the open floor. Taft drew the lone Eagles defender back and hit a cutting Shanee Williams for what should have been a point-blank layup.But Williams missed, overshooting the layup off the backboard. Hillsman turned to the bench and sent in Phylesha Bullard in for Williams. The substitution was one of many in a constant rotation used by Hillsman throughout the game. Hillsman made it clear before the game that he would not accept blown plays — even writing on his board in the locker room for emphasis — and told the players they would be pulled for mistakes.‘You can’t blow assignments, you can’t go down and miss open layups, you can’t throw the ball away,’ Hillsman said. ‘You can’t not get into your rhythm, you just can’t do that.’Syracuse labored through the first nine-plus minutes of the half as Hillsman continued to substitute at a frenetic pace. The players couldn’t find a comfort zone, and Coppin State went up 13-12 with 11:07 left in the half.Soon after, the Orange offense started its run with two free throws from Iasia Hemingway to give Syracuse a 14-13 lead.The highlight of the run that broke it open for SU came when Rachel Coffey knocked down a wide-open 3-pointer from the left corner. The play came after what appeared to be another sloppy sequence by the Orange.Troya Berry turned the ball over beyond halfcourt immediately after a Coffey steal, but Coppin State’s Shawntae Payne struggled to get a hold of the ball and Williams was able to come up with possession. Hillsman had turned away from the play, strolling down the bench, thinking the team had committed another turnover. But as he turned around, Coffey received a pass from Williams to sink the 3 to breathe some life into the SU offense and give it a 19-13 lead.‘Rachel shot the ball well down the half,’ Hillsman said. ‘But the key for her is just to take good ones. When she takes good ones, she’s a very good shooter.’She added another 3 to extend the Orange lead to eight a little over two minutes later and Shakeya Leary finished with six points in the closing minutes, getting the ball deep in the post and converting on all four of her free throws.‘It’s just something that we practice all the time and it just turned over to the court today,’ Leary said. ‘And I just continued to do it once I saw it started working easily.’As an exhausted Hillsman stepped to the podium after the game, he lamented that it was nice to get a win after a grueling stretch that saw the Orange lose three straight games. Carmen Tyson-Thomas and Hemingway agreed and welcomed the week-long break until the team heads to Las Vegas.But Hemingway wasn’t willing to blame the tiring stretch for SU’s sluggish play Saturday.‘I don’t believe we came out tired,’ Hemingway said. ‘We just couldn’t make a couple of buckets, but at the end of the day, we got the win.’rjgery@syr.edu Published on December 10, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Ryne: rjgery@syr.edu Commentscenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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