WBB : Orange’s season ends with loss to James Madison in WNIT semifinals

first_img Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on March 28, 2012 at 12:00 pm Contact Chris: [email protected] | @chris_isemancenter_img The shots around the rim weren’t falling, but Quentin Hillsman held out hope.If Syracuse could keep getting those looks, then the Orange head coach remained confident they’d fall eventually and SU would cruise into the Women’s National Invitation Tournament championship game.‘When you get the shots you want, and you’re playing at the rim and you have the opportunities,’ Hillsman said in a phone interview Wednesday, ‘it’s really encouraging because you know that you can get the shots you want and hope that at some point it will fall.’But those shots never fell as much as Syracuse needed them to, and the Orange’s season ended in a crushing 74-71 loss to James Madison in the WNIT semifinals Wednesday in front of a raucous crowd of 4,008 at the JMU Convocation Center in Harrisonburg, Va. Center Kayla Alexander was dominant in the low post once again for the Orange, finishing with a stellar 29 points and 13 rebounds, and guard Elashier Hall added 18 points, but it wasn’t enough.The Orange went up 27-25 with less than five minutes left in the first half after point guard Rachel Coffey drained a deep 3-pointer and Hemingway made a layup.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSyracuse gave up the lead quickly, though, and James Madison went into halftime ahead 33-31.‘I think that early in the first half, we didn’t do a very good job of capitalizing on our opportunities in the paint,’ Hillsman said. ‘We got a lot of shots around the rim and just didn’t make shots around the rim.’One of the top rebounding teams in the country, the Orange crashed the boards hard for a total of 51 rebounds in the game but met its match in the Dukes, as they finished with 49.James Madison won the game at the free-throw line, finishing with 23 points from the stripe on 21 SU personal fouls. While JMU was going to the line frequently, the Orange did not get there as much.‘They made shots in the second half, and they got to the free-throw line,’ Hillsman said. ‘They shot 30 free throws, we shot 15. That’s our game, getting to the line and making shots. … I feel like we should’ve gotten a lot more opportunities at the foul line, but it just didn’t go our way.’The Orange gained some separation coming out of halftime when two consecutive 3s from Hall keyed a 12-4 SU run that gave it a 43-37 lead. But James Madison regained control and went on multiple runs. The most notable was when Kirby Burkholder scored six straight points to push the Dukes ahead 61-55.Syracuse stayed in the game, though, and a three-point play from Alexander pulled the Orange to within two points with 22.2 seconds remaining in the game. Then with SU down 74-71, Coffey – who already had one heroic 3 in SU’s win over Toledo in the quarterfinals – put up another deep triple from the left side, but it clanked off the rim.Syracuse’s season ended as the ball fell to the floor.Though his team’s year came to a crushing end, Hillsman said he was proud of the Orange for the way it played down the stretch. It won four straight games to get to the WNIT semifinals for the first time in program history.When the Orange’s season hit a rough patch late in the year, his players continued to fight. Overall, that’s all he could’ve asked for.‘It got to a point where our kids could’ve really packed it in and they never did,’ Hillsman said. ‘They kept fighting, they kept playing hard. They got to the NIT, they played with a purpose.’[email protected]last_img

Have any Question or Comment?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Comments