Syracuse needs to replace 84 percent of its scoring from a year ago

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Quentin Hillsman stood in front of a Syracuse-patterned backdrop, clasped a podium with both hands and answered the question that will define his 12th season as head coach: How will the Orange replace the production of four starters, two of whom were program greats?The 2017-18 Orange squad – composed mainly of five now-eligible transfers, three freshmen and three returning players – will have to make up 84 percent of last year’s scoring. The graduated duo of Alexis Peterson and Brittney Sykes accounted for nearly half of SU’s total points. Instead of having one or two players shoulder the burden, Hillsman expressed multiple times that he expects every player to contribute.“I think it has to be a collective,” Hillsman said on Oct. 20. “We have a lot of talent. We’re deep, we’re looking to play 10 players double-figure minutes every night. If we can do that … I think we can do really well. We’re not looking for one person to step up.”If SU’s (1-0) season-opening 95-68 wallop of Morgan State is any indication, the Orange, led by four new starters, is on the right track. During the Nov. 10 victory, nine players logged 13 or more minutes. Last season, SU relied primarily on a six-player rotation. Five players, all making their Syracuse debut last Friday, finished with double-digit points. In 33 games last season, SU had just two games where five or more players eclipsed 10 points. The Orange will look to replicate its early success Thursday night against Maryland Eastern Shore (1-1) in the Carrier Dome.“I think it worked just as planned,” Hillsman said of the Morgan State win. “We had five players in double figures (in points) so we’re trying to get four, and if you get a fifth, we’ll take it. It’s a recipe for success.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAgainst the Bears, SU’s “recipe” consisted of driving and penetrating the defense rather than trusting the deep ball. Hillsman’s tenure has seen SU adopt the 3-pointer as its primary form of offense. Yet, against Morgan State, it shot 6-of-36 from beyond the arc.Andy Mendes | Digital Design EditorSophomore transfer Tiana Mangakahia spearheaded the offensive charge and dished out 10 of the team’s 22 assists. Some of the key passes made their way to Digna Strautmane, who’s “do-it-all” nature resulted in mid-range jumpers and converted layups. The freshman from Latvia led SU with 17 points and only missed one shot from inside the 3-point line. Isis Young, a transfer from Florida who tallied the most minutes in her three collegiate seasons, added 13.“I think we have enough players that we’ll be solid enough to win by committee,” Hillsman said on Oct. 31. “I don’t think you’re going to see those games where we have those 35, 40 point (performances). You’re going to see a lot of 13, 14 (point performances) across the board for us this year.”Hillsman referred to the performances last season in which Peterson and Sykes would carry the bulk of the team’s offense. He admitted this past Tuesday that their minutes were extended because, in times of need, SU turned to them for offense. This year, SU doesn’t want to replicate that.“We need everyone to contribute,” Miranda Drummond, a St. Bonaventure transfer, said.After the Morgan State win, Hillsman confessed that he probably overextended Mangakahia by playing her 34 minutes in her first professional game in two years. The decision resulted in sloppy third-quarter play, Hillsman said. That problem should be resolved in the coming games, as the injured pairing of Desiree Elmore and Abby Grant are “both on the cusp of playing.”For Hillsman to guide Syracuse to its 11th consecutive postseason appearance, he will need new faces to replenish a depleted offense.“It’s a new team,” Amaya Finklea-Guity, a freshman center, said. “It’s just up to us.” Comments Published on November 15, 2017 at 8:53 pm Contact Nick: nialvare@syr.edu | @nick_a_alvarezlast_img

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