Brittney Sykes hit a short jumper from the left corner to start up "Taco Time" in the Carrier Dome. It was the first play of the second half.
The Syracuse Orange completely embarrassed the Maryland Eastern Shore Lady Hawks on Wednesday night in the Carrier Dome. The Orange won 113-42 and improved to 4-0 on the season. With the win, Syracuse has won 56 consecutive non-conference home games, dating back to the '06-07 season.
Brianna Butler scored a career-high 23 points. She had 20 points in the first half, on 6-10 shooting from three. The Lady Hawks kept leaving Butler wide open and she kept on making shots. That performance was both a relief and a confidence booster, Butler said.
"I just hit the open shots. I focused on getting my feet set, getting in rhythm and they were just falling today," she said.
As a team, the Orange shot 37 percent (15-41) from three point range.
"When you have your three or four best shooters shoot the ball, you're going to have that kind of percentage," coach Quentin Hillsman said. "We just had the right people shooting at the right time."
Midway through the first half, Syracuse went on an impressive 17-0 run. It put the Orange up 35-6 with nine minutes left. The run featured several Syracuse steals, fast-break points, outside shooting and even some luck. Isabella Slim's three point attempt bounced around the rim, glided up the backboard and finally sailed through the net.
Of Syracuse's 14 players, 12 scored on Wednesday night. In fact, Syracuse's bench players tallied 56 points, outscoring the entire Maryland team by themselves.
"We have very talented players," Hillsman said. "We're trying to get as many players as many minutes as possible."
The Hawks tried to match Syracuse's speed, but it only led to sloppy play. They turned the ball over 31 times, which led to 53 Syracuse points.
"As a team, defense is a big key to our offense," Sykes said. "Getting in those passing lanes, stealing the ball and playing hard fought defense from our press helps us get in transition."
Sykes scored 19 points to go with seven rebounds, four assists and two steals. She has scored at least 16 points in all four games this year.
On the boards, the Orange out-rebounded the Hawks 60-45 with almost half of them coming on the offensive end. In one possession Sykes, Taylor Ford and Briana Day all had offensive rebounds. It led to two converted free throws by Day.
With about four minutes left, Syracuse was two points away from tying the team record of 103. La'Shay Taft confidently clutched the ball with her bright Orange sneakers a few inches behind the three-point line. Taft sunk the shot to give Syracuse 104 points, a new team record. After the game, Taft told reporters she didn't know that it was her shot that broke the mark.
"No, not at all. Y'all told me something," she said with a smile. "I guess I'll be known for that for pretty long."
But on the sidelines, Hillsman wasn't all smiles. Even with massive leads of 50 and 60 points, he was still animated and, often frustrated. When Sykes, Briana Butler and Taft were asked what they thought of this, they paused, looked at each other awkwardly hoping another would answer, and then let out a laugh.
"No matter what the score is on the clock, even if we're up thirty or forty like the last game, he's really persistent and really hard on us about playing team basketball," Sykes said.
So will there every be a point when Hillsman can relax and enjoy the game?