first_img Published on November 20, 2012 at 9:15 pm Contact Kevin: [email protected] Within 15 seconds, the tone was set.After St. Joseph’s won the opening tip, Syracuse center Kayla Alexander swatted away a jumper by SJU forward Chatil van Grinsven.It was the first of eight blocks for Alexander, who spearheaded a defensive effort that held the Hawks scoreless for the first 5:41 of the game.The Orange never trailed against St. Joseph’s (2-2) and cruised to an 80-39 win over the Hawks in Philadelphia, Pa., on Tuesday night. The victory moves Syracuse to 4-0 on the season, and the team has defeated all of its opponents by at least 24 points.“We controlled the glass, and we shot well,” SU head coach Quentin Hillsman said in a phone interview Tuesday. “Kayla was dominant inside, and we did a great job on ‘D.’ We had great balance, and we executed our game plan.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSyracuse was led by Alexander, who finished with 20 points, eight blocks and seven rebounds in 27 minutes of play, coming close to recording a triple-double as she did last Sunday against Fairleigh Dickinson.SU dominated the entire game, maintaining a rebounding edge of 61-31, holding a decisive 36-8 advantage on points in the paint and shooting 45.2 percent from the field while holding the Hawks to 14-for-66 (21.2 percent) from the field.Syracuse’s efficient shooting early forced SJU defenders to play more outside, opening the interior for Alexander, Hillsman said.“We were making jump shots, and they had to come and guard,” Hillsman said. “It made it tough for them to double down, and we did a good job of attacking our misses.”Senior guard Carmen Tyson-Thomas provided a spark off the bench, nailing a 3-pointer with 8:59 left in the first half to give SU a 28-7 lead. She finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds in 29 minutes of action.“She’s very vocal off the bench,” Hillsman said. “Playing solid minutes, that’s what she’s focused on. Her role is in no way diminished. I tell her, ‘When you play well, you’re going to play well. It doesn’t matter if you’re coming off the bench.’”The Orange continued its trend of gathering a mix of contributions from starters and reserves, with 41 of the team’s 80 points coming from the bench. Reserve Rachel Coffey added seven points and six assists in 25 minutes, and guard La’Shay Taft came off the bench for three points and three steals in 13 minutes.Syracuse remained sharp throughout the game thanks to its depth, Hillsman said.“It’s critical to have that bench productivity,” Hillsman said. “We need balance and depth, and we need to play our numbers.”St. Joseph’s rode a wave of momentum into the contest, after taking down then-No. 5 Maryland on Saturday night, the program’s first win over a top-5 squad since 1977.Despite SJU’s success against the Terrapins, the Orange knew it could compete if it stuck to its game plan and stayed on task, Hillsman said.Syracuse did much more than that en route to a 41-point victory.“We wanted to start off fast, and we did that,” Hillsman said. “They’re a very good team, and we knew going in that we had to compete at a high level.“We just played well.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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