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Day helps Syracuse pull away late to fend off Duquesne, 90-84, on road

first_imgBriana Day knocked down two free throws with four and a half minutes left. A minute later, she scored a layup. Thirty seconds after that, Day grabbed her own offensive rebound and finished again.Syracuse and Duquesne were tied with less than five minutes left, but the Orange exploded with a 12-3 run to secure a victory and Day scored six of the points.“I thought we had some spurts in the game when we had to get some big stops and some second-chance opportunities,” SU head coach Quentin Hillsman said, “and (Day) did a very good job of sparking us and getting us some opportunities.”No. 23 SU (3-0) overcame a 14-point first-half deficit to beat the Dukes (0-2), 90-84, on Wednesday night at the A.J. Palumbo Center in Pittsburgh. Syracuse never led until the final seconds of the first half. In the second half, the lead changed seven times before the Orange pulled away in the final five minutes, and Day played an instrumental role with career-highs of 22 points and 19 rebounds.On the decisive 12-3 run, Syracuse’s full-court press worked as planned by making it difficult for the Dukes to get into a rhythm on offense. SU then pushed the ball with a fast tempo and scored often. Eight of the 12 points came on free throws because Syracuse was attacking the hoop, and the other four points came on layups.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“I think it shows how gutsy our kids are when they really compete and play hard,” Hillsman said.SU’s run happened so fast that three minutes after being tied, point guard Cornelia Fondren was already trying to dribble out the clock before the Dukes started intentionally fouling. In the first half, Duquesne outrebounded SU 25-15. But down the stretch, Day dominated in the paint and the rebounding battle ended in a 44-44 tie.Following last season, teammates said that Day was the most improved player on the team. Against Duquesne, she proved it. And while Day stole the show in the final minutes, Diamond Henderson hit big shots throughout the second half, too. Henderson scored 22 points off the bench and showed why Hillsman was so excited in the preseason to see what she could do after transferring from Tennessee Tech.Though it’s only the second game of the season, Hillsman said winning a game like this is a good experience.“It’s good to have a game where you’re down pretty big in the first half and you have to come back, take the lead and then you have to kind of go back and forth and pull out a win,” Hillsman said. “I think this is valuable for our kids.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on November 19, 2014 at 11:05 pm Contact Paul: [email protected] | @pschwedslast_img

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