Jon Cerio

Niagara Falls to the Orange, 109-60

Sykes, Elmore Help Dominate the Purple Eagles

The Syracuse women's basketball team was in top-form in their rout of the Niagara Purple Eagles, 109-60.  The women hosted Niagara one hour after the SU men's team put a beating on Boston University.  

The women's performance was even more dominating.  From start to finish, the Orange ran all over an over-matched Purple Eagle squad, outscoring them by 24 and 19 points in the first and second quarters, respectively.

It also marked the emergence of freshman guard Desiree Elmore, who tallied a career high 15 points in the contest.

"This is what Coach expects of me every game," said Elmore.  "Now that he knows that it's there, I have to continue to keep playing like that, and get better."

With 7:40 left in the first quarter, Morgan Baughman made a layup for the Purple Eagles to make it 5-4 Orange.  That was the last time we heard from Niagara on offense for the next six minutes.

In that time, Peterson, Sykes, Day and Cooper would lead the Orange charge on a 23-0 run.  Niagara didn't score again until more than six minutes later.  Syracuse would close out the first quarter with a commanding 32-8 advantage.

It didn't get any better for Niagara in the second quarter.  Brittney Sykes added to the Eagles misery with a three-pointer with 8:42 remaining in the quarter.  Syracuse went on a 15-3 run to start the quarter, led by eight from Sykes during that stretch alone.

The Orange dominated Niagara for the remainder of the half, holding them to just 19 points, on 6 of 23 shooting.  Meanwhile, Syracuse hit 26 of 45 shots in the first half, en route to a massive 62-19 edge at halftime.  

In the second half, Niagara got a little more competitive.  Emily Granruth and Tiffany Corselli held their own against the Orange defense.  Though the Syracuse offense didn't slow, the Purple Eagles stayed within seven points of the Orange in 3rd quarter scoring, 30-23.

Niagara managed to outscore the Orange in the fourth quarter by a point, 18-17.  Much of that could be credited to Coach Hillman playing his reserves.

In all, five Orange players scored in double figures.  Syracuse doubled Niagara 52-26 in the paint.  Brittney Sykes ended up with 23 points, 13 rebounds, and 8 assists - the first woman to lead the Orange in all three categories since Iasia Hemingway did it in 2012.  Perhaps more importantly, Desiree Elmore showed glimpses of what could be with her best performance of the season.

"She's coming into her own now," said Brittney Sykes of Elmore.  "It's good to see her scoring the ball, playing defense, moving her feet.  Doing the things that maybe she wasn't necessarily doing at the beginning of the season."

Syracuse moves to 8-3 on the year with the win.  Next up for them is a trip down south, for the Florida Sunshine Classic on December 20th.  The Orange is looking to avenge a trip to Florida last month, where they lost two of three games in the Gulf Coast Showcase Tournament.

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