WBB : Orange cruises through WNIT despite extended time on road

first_img Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ It worked out exactly how Quentin Hillsman wanted it to.After the Syracuse head coach learned his team would be playing in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament on March 12, Hillsman hoped the Orange would play all of its games on the road, away from the distractions of home.‘I was hoping that it wouldn’t backfire on us because I knew that we could go out and it could go either way,’ Hillsman said, ‘but to their credit they embraced it, and I think that being on the road has made us a stronger basketball team.’The Orange (22-14) began its road journey in the first round of the WNIT in Hartford, Conn., and the trip has worked out perfectly thus far for Hillsman and his players. SU has survived four elimination games in nine days to advance to the WNIT semifinals, in which it will take on James Madison (28-7) in Harrisonburg, Va., at 7 p.m. Wednesday.It was the first time in 22 years Syracuse captured four consecutive road victories, dating back to the 1990-91 season.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Orange opened the tournament with a 59-42 win at Hartford on March 16. Three days later, Syracuse trounced Drexel 65-43 and emerged victorious again in Philadelphia last Thursday with an 82-68 win over Temple.Syracuse’s players and staff then traveled to Toledo, Ohio, last Friday. They had less than a day to prepare for their matchup with the Rockets.‘It was just more so us being mentally focused and coach Q just letting us know this is a business,’ forward Iasia Hemingway said. ”You know we’re going to be traveling a lot, but just stay focused, and I know you’re all tired, but don’t give up because we are a good team and we’re playing well and we don’t want to come up short.”Trailing by five with 2:10 remaining in the second half, a newfound unity and resiliency surfaced to carry the Orange to victory. First, Syracuse point guard Rachel Coffey hit a fadeaway 3-pointer with 2.4 seconds left to send the game into overtime.And in the extra session, with SU’s two centers off the court due to foul trouble, reserve forward Troya Berry nailed what proved to be the game-winning free throw.‘With Rachel hitting that big shot, we were like, ‘Let’s just take this home,” Hemingway said. ‘That 3 was meant for a reason. It was meant for us to win for a reason and everything happens for a reason, so fortunately we got the win.’The road trip also led to a change in Hillsman’s coaching style. The SU head coach said he has learned to not overanalyze certain situations and to loosen the reins on his players to a degree, allowing them ‘to do their thing’ and to save their legs.The road also enabled the coaches to break down film with the players without any disturbance, as they had nowhere else to be.After Saturday’s win over Toledo, Syracuse returned home before getting ready to leave for Virginia.Now, only two games stand in the path of the Orange capturing the WNIT crown.‘When you’re out for that long period of time and you’re in the environments that we’ve been in, you have to band together and lean on each other,’ Hillsman said. ‘Secondly, because they’re playing so well they have the confidence in each other.’The next chapter of Syracuse’s tournament run leads the Orange to the JMU Convocation Center, a hostile environment that Hillsman deemed ‘eerie’ because the band sits right over the court.But if SU has proven anything in the WNIT, it’s that it embraces challenges. If the Orange can stretch its road winning streak to five, just one obstacle stands in its way of earning the tournament title.‘We just know that we need to come out strong and do the same things that we do at home,’ SU guard Carmen Tyson-Thomas said. ‘We’re not reluctant to be playing on the road at all, so we’re just looking forward to it.’adtredin@syr.educenter_img Published on March 27, 2012 at 12:00 pmlast_img read more

New York to revisit having fans at games, make final decision before season

first_img Comments Published on July 23, 2020 at 1:24 pm Contact Danny: dremerma@syr.edu | @DannyEmerman The Daily Orange is a nonprofit newsroom that receives no funding from Syracuse University. Consider donating today to support our mission.New York state is expected to make a final decision by early September on whether fans can attend college sports events.The final decision is expected prior to the Orange’s Sept. 4 season opener at Boston College. Rich Azzopardi, a senior aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, told Syracuse.com that any policy change would account for new information or trends regarding the coronavirus pandemic.“When it gets closer to the season starting, we’ll be making another determination,” Azzopardi said. “Everything is based on the infection rate and where the world is.”Azzopardi’s response comes two days after Cuomo ordered all colleges in the state to prohibit fans from sporting events this fall in accordance with the state’s existing guidelines against large social gatherings. The state has also banned fans at professional sporting events — at both outdoor and indoor venues — and tailgating.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSyracuse was planning on filling the newly renovated Carrier Dome this fall with fans in some capacity. SU Director of Athletics John Wildhack said in a statement that the university will seek clarification on Cuomo’s order. COVID-19 cases are trending upward in 39 states, and the country’s total number of hospitalizations on Wednesday nearly surpassed the high of 60,000 patients previously set in April, according to The New York Times. California, Texas, Idaho and Alabama reported record-high daily death tolls Wednesday.The curve of COVID-19 infections in central New York has been largely flattened, though, and Onondaga County has been in its fourth phase of reopening for almost a month. Still, Azzopardi fears that allowing fans at sporting events could attract individuals from outside of the country and make the region prone to a cluster of cases.“An infection in Texas is as good as an infection here,” Azzopardi told Syracuse.com. “This virus does not respect borders. It does not respect a particular event. We’re constantly looking at the science.”As of now, the college football season is still set to occur in some form. The Big Ten and Pac-12 have announced conference-only schedules. Syracuse is tasked with replacing Rutgers and Colgate on its schedule or follow an alternative plan laid out by the ACC.“The health and safety of our student-athletes, our fans, our campus community and the broader Central New York community is our chief priority,” Wildhack said in a July 21 statement.center_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more