No. 3 UConn 64, No. 22 Syracuse 51

Syracuse is a very good team when Kayla Alexander can stay out

of foul trouble.

The Orange senior scored 14 points, becoming the first player in

school history to reach 2,000 points, and kept 22nd-ranked Syracuse

in the game against No. 3 UConn. She just didn’t have enough help

for the team to pull off the upset as the Orange fell 64-51 in the

Big East tournament semifinals Monday night.

”She’s got to be on the floor for us to have any chance to beat

a team like UConn,” Syracuse coach Quentin Hillsman said.

The first time the teams played, Alexander got in foul trouble

and the Huskies went on to a rout. On Monday, she was able to stay

out of it and impressed Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma.

”She’s probably improved more from freshman year to senior year

than any kid in the league,” he said. ”Right now or in recent

memory. I remember her as a freshman. Watching her play her senior

year, she’s put herself in a different situation. In our league, we

have three of the best centers in America and she’s certainly one

of them. I’m not sure you could have said that her freshman and

sophomore year. That shows how much she means to Syracuse’s


The Orange, who hadn’t played UConn this well since 2008, were

able to survive a 9 1/2 minute drought without a field goal.

UConn led 24-18 midway through the first half before Kaleena

Mosqueda-Lewis started a 15-6 run with a 3-pointer. Her second 3 of

the burst made it 32-22. Then, Breanna Stewart took over by scoring

six of the next eight points. Her jumper in the lane made it 39-24

with 2:57 left in the half.

Brittney Sykes’ layup 45 seconds earlier was the last basket the

Orange would get for nearly 9 1/2 minutes spanning the halves.

Surprisingly, Connecticut couldn’t really take advantage, only

scoring seven points in that span. The Huskies kept passing up

shots and turning the ball over at an alarming rate. It got so bad

that at one point Auriemma yelled at his team to ”just shoot the


”I thought we did a really good job in the first half of being

aggressive,” Mosqueda-Lewis said. ”I think we just kind of lost

our flow somewhere. Syracuse just seemed to speed us up. We got out

of our own rhythm. We didn’t have a lot of composure.”

The turnovers allowed the Orange to hang around despite the

offensive drought.

Trailing 46-27, Syracuse rallied. Carmen Tyson-Thomas hit two

3-pointers sandwiched around Elashier Hall’s basket. Brianna

Butler’s layup capped a 13-3 run and brought the Orange within

nine. That’s as close as they could get thanks in part because of

the strong play by Stewart.

”It was a point coming into the game,” Hillsman said. ”We

couldn’t have those long droughts where we didn’t score. We had one

and we were stuck down 13 or 14 points for a good while. When we

got them to 10, we just had to get two or three more stops to win

the basketball game.”

Syracuse made it to the semifinals for the first time since

2002. Alexander, who matched her career high with 34 points in the

second round, became the first Syracuse player to reach 2,000

points when she hit a free throw with 1:40 left. She finished the

game with 2,001.

The Orange were playing in their last Big East tournament as

they are headed to the ACC next season. They continued their

struggles against UConn. Syracuse, which was off to its best mark

after 30 games, hasn’t beaten the Huskies since 1996.

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