first_imgQuentin Hillsman walked out onto the court to greet Maggie Morrison. He wrapped his arms around her waist and picked her up in the air.She had just hit her third 3-pointer in as many attempts, giving Syracuse a 14-point cushion in the first half. In just five minutes of game action, Morrison had put her stamp on a game more forcefully than she had at any other point in the season.“You really feel great for them,” Hillsman, the SU head coach said. “Maggie’s a tough, tough kid. She’s a hard worker. She never comes into the office and complains. She never blames others for anything for her or lack of. She stepped in and really did a great job for us tonight.”Morrison finished with 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting from behind the arc in No. 21 Syracuse’s (11-5, 1-2 Atlantic Coast) 70-58 win over Virginia (12-4, 1-2) on Sunday afternoon in front of 708 fans in the Carrier Dome. All her points came in that stretch of almost five minutes in the first half that saw an 11-point Syracuse lead balloon to 18.The junior transfer from Vanderbilt has struggled in her first season at Syracuse, shooting just 29 percent from 3. But after her first breakout performance on Sunday, that percentage rose to 36.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“They left me open for the most part, probably because I miss most of my shots,” Morrison said. “They were just falling today. It was good.”Morrison hit her first wide-open 3 off a pass from a trapped Diamond Henderson. Her second came after securing an offensive rebound after a Cornelia Fondren missed free throw. The third fell after she looked for an open Henderson, but took the shot herself after the defense closed in on Henderson.After hitting her fourth 3, Morrison missed her last attempt, an open shot from the corner as the first-half buzzer sounded. She then apologized to Henderson for preventing her from an assist and jogged back into the locker room with injured guard Brittney Sykes tailing her and rubbing her shoulders.“Anytime one of our teammates can come in and get hot like that,” point guard Alexis Peterson said. “It’s not only a confidence builder for her … but it’s great for our team and our program as well, when we have an offensive threat like that coming off the bench.”Hillsman wasn’t shy to say Morrison was one of the main reasons Syracuse won on Sunday despite playing just 10 minutes. She sparked the game-defining first-half run, and made big shots in moments that have often been futile for her throughout the first half of this season.She said she hoped not to be left open in the future, but that if she is, she won’t hesitate to shoot the ball.Said Morrison: “It definitely felt really good to finally get my shot back.” Comments Published on January 11, 2015 at 4:06 pm Contact Sam: [email protected] | @SamBlum3 Facebook Twitter Google+last_img