Alexis Peterson, Brittney Sykes combine for 53 points in Syracuse women’s basketball’s 81-48 upset over No. 14 Miami

first_img Published on January 22, 2017 at 6:55 pm Contact Tomer: [email protected] | @tomer_langer Miami’s Laura Cornelius thought she had an easy transition layup after an Alexis Peterson turnover. But she couldn’t see Brittney Sykes running down right behind her.As Cornelius went up for a layup, Sykes leapt and swatted the ball down toward her before it trickled out of bounds. She turned and stared at Cornelius.“I kinda give a little look, but I don’t want to get a (technical foul), so I just walk back and set up for our 2-3 out of bounds,” a laughing Sykes said after Syracuse’s 81-48 upset over No. 14 Miami on Sunday afternoon. “The little look,” Sykes added, “is almost like I have to double check, like, did you really try that … it’s like a quick glance and like, alright, you buggin.”Later in the first quarter, Peterson got called for a foul she and her coach Quentin Hillsman didn’t agree with. Hillsman turned around in frustration as Peterson looked unsatisfied by the explanation the referee was giving her.On the next possession, Peterson lined up for a 3-pointer, missed, but got the ball from Briana Day after an offensive rebound. Peterson pulled up and drained the next one. She jumped up and yelled, looking in the same direction of where the referee who had just called the foul on her was standing.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Orange (14-7, 5-3 Atlantic Coast) was frustrated after back-to-back road losses to Georgia Tech and No. 7 Florida State. Its senior backcourt of Sykes and Peterson — dubbed by Hillsman as the best backcourt in the country and branded as such by the team’s social media accounts — channeled that frustration into a masterful performance.SU’s two best players combined to score 53 — five more than Miami did as a team — ensuring its two-game slide would end. It also marks 16 straight home wins, extending back to last season. The third regular-season victory over a ranked opponent ties a program-best mark in the dominating 81-48 win over No. 14 Miami (14-5, 3-4) on Sunday afternoon.Sykes scored in a multitude of ways for the Orange. Her first basket was a layup following an offense rebound by Day. On the next possession she drilled a transition 3-pointer. Her first bucket of the second half was a turnaround jumper from the free-throw line. She also had three and-1s in the game. At times, she was the primary ball-handler.“She’s just special. She’s really, really special,” Miami head coach Katie Meier said. “We let her play to her scout in the first half. In the second half, she went against our scout and torched us, too.”Meier said she didn’t want to give up her full scouting report on Sykes, but she thought Sykes would get hesitant if she was forced to certain areas on the court. That never happened.On defense, Sykes wreaked havoc. On one possession, Sykes started off playing up top with Peterson and Cooper, pressuring the ball on a possession that started at midcourt. Miami broke the pressure and passed a ball deep into the corner, but Sykes had already recovered and managed to deflect the ball away. She finished with 29 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, three blocks and three steals.When the Hurricanes scored, they threw full-court pressure at Peterson as she brought the ball up court. First it was one defender, but Peterson normally broke that easily. Then it was two Miami players trying to trap her, but she split them, too.Jeff Anderson | Staff PhotographerMiami was often left to foul. On one play, Peterson split two defenders in the backcourt and got fouled by a third near midcourt. Hillsman yelled “all day” at Peterson. The next possession, the press was called off. In the second quarter alone, the Orange shot 11-of-14 from the free-throw line.“They did everything they could but Lex is just, she’s a good ball handler,” Hillsman said. “If you give her space, she’s going to make you pay.”In the second half, SU was even more dominant. Miami couldn’t shake any of the momentum that SU had. After back-to-back baskets for the Hurricanes —something that rarely happened in the second half — Sykes converted an and-1.On the next possession, Peterson spun out of pressuring defense, dribbled toward the free-throw line and passed a ball toward an open spot the baseline. Sykes swooped in on a backdoor cut and went up for the layup.Peterson, who finished the game with 24 points and seven assists, turned around and celebrated before Sykes even finished the play.The two got subbed out at separate points late in the fourth quarter. Each one of them got a standing ovation from the crowd. Together, they led SU to its best win of the season.“This was a must win and we said it was that,” Hillsman said. “We didn’t shy away from saying that this win could possible define our season. And hopefully it has defined it in a positive way.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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