first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on November 15, 2013 at 12:05 am Contact Josh: [email protected] After Syracuse’s walkthrough on Wednesday, head coach Quentin Hillsman told sophomore guard Brittney Sykes she needed to be more aggressive. She listened. On Thursday night, Sykes led a suffocating defense that propelled the Orange (2-0) to an 88-47 victory over Dartmouth (1-2) in front of 457 at the Carrier Dome. The Orange unleashed its full-court press often throughout the night, forcing 22 turnovers and grabbing 13 steals. SU scored 25 points off of turnovers, while Dartmouth had zero fast-break points. “We definitely wanted to pressure (Dartmouth) and not give them easy trips down the floor,” Hillsman said. “We didn’t want to have them playing against our zone for 24-25 seconds. We wanted to play four or five passes in our zone instead of playing nine or 10.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“We did a really good job of getting out in passing lanes and did a really good job at not giving them one-pass shots.”Sykes took full advantage of the defensive scheme. The sophomore scored a career-high 26 points on 11-of-17 shooting and led the team with three steals. Forward Taylor Ford had two steals and scored a career-high 13 on 4-of-5 shooting. “We were able to get out a run,” Hillsman said. “We have that person (Sykes) at the top that can leak out and go make plays. And for us, that’s important. Transition buckets, getting out, and getting easy baskets.”Syracuse began the game in its base 2-3 zone, but the Big Green started on a 5-1 run. On Dartmouth’s fourth possession, the Orange pressed for the first time and forced Big Green point guard Milica Toskovic into a turnover. It was her first of three on the night. From that point, SU went on a 9-0 run. The Orange took a 10-5 lead and didn’t relinquish it for the rest of the night. Minutes later, SU extended its lead to 16-8 when Sykes stole the ball from Dartmouth guard Fanni Szabo and went coast to coast for an uncontested layup. “We forced Dartmouth to pass the ball faster and made them make decisions,” Sykes said. “For us to get traps and make them throw the ball out of bounds, to then get the ball and have more possessions on offense, it helped us out a lot to get the ball moving up and down the floor.”Guards Sykes, Rachel Coffey, Cornelia Fondren, and Isabella Slim took turns harassing the Dartmouth in-bounders. The Orange rotated between trapping beneath the free-throw line, inside the 3-point line, and half court, but regardless, it slowed down the Big Green offense.Oftentimes, Dartmouth’s offense didn’t get the ball past half court until seven or eight seconds were off the shot clock, and didn’t get its offense set until 10 or 11 seconds in. “We got a lot of traps and we got a couple 10-second calls,” guard Brianna Butler said. “(Our defense) definitely helps us lead into our offense. It gets us going, gets us steals, gets us in transition, and makes the other team play faster, which is what we want.”SU forced an unprecedented 13 turnovers in the first half and had 7 steals. Twice in the first half the Orange forced 10-second violations.“I think the pressure slows them down a little bit and makes them make a couple of extra passes,” Hillsman said. “It probably gets them out of position where they have to move the ball back out to get into their offense. So our press is definitely a part of our zone.”In the second half, the Orange cut down on the press, but when it ran it, it was effective. SU forced nine turnovers in the second half, and on the 13 possessions the Orange ran a press, the Big Green scored only seven points. On Tuesday, Hillsman said the Orange needed to be ready for Dartmouth’s potent 3-point shooting. On Thursday night, the Big Green shot 4-of-25 from downtown. From inside the arc, it shot 15-of-53.Syracuse likes the full-court press. When it came up during the postgame press conference, Sykes, Butler, and center Shakeya Leary all let out telling grins.Said Sykes: “It’s fun being at the top.” Commentslast_img