Desiree Elmore scores career-high 15 points in Syracuse women’s basketball 109-60 rout of Niagara

first_imgLate in the first half, Desiree Elmore squared up against Niagara forward Victoria Rampado, who stands five inches taller than Elmore. But with the ball at her hip in three-point stance, Elmore took just one jab step and two dribbles to get past Rampado and to the hoop for a layup.“She’s gifted, she has a gift to get the ball in the basket,” Syracuse head coach Quentin Hillsman said. “It’s not about anything else, she just finds a way (to score).”In a contest which saw No. 20 Syracuse (8-3) nearly break a program record with 62 first-half points and 109 total, Elmore tallied a season-high 15-points and 78 percent field goal percentage for the Orange, playing the best she has all season. The Purple Eagles (4-5, 1-1 Metro Atlantic Athletic) struggled to guard Elmore, who did much of her damage in the paint en route to SU’s 109-60 win over the Eagles Saturday afternoon in the Carrier Dome.Elmore’s performance Saturday was a stark contrast to her 0-for-4 shooting performance against Rhode Island in the Orange’s season opener on Nov. 11. After several games in which she hardly contributed, she had her best overall performance to date.Hillsman said former five-star recruit Desiree Elmore showed up this summer with the potential to be great. But he wasn’t going to just let the freshman step on campus and be great. She was going to have to earn it and until then, what she “could be” didn’t matter, Hillsman said.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textElmore has seen patches of playing time this season and has filled them with subtle scoring. She averaged only 2.4 points per game entering Saturday. But against Niagara, Elmore oozed efficiency and for the first time this season, tallying 15 minutes in the win.“(Elmore) is coming into her own now,” fifth-year guard Brittney Sykes said. “She’s getting accustomed to D-1 basketball, she’s getting accustomed to our style of basketball; it’s just a lot of things as a freshman to take in.”Niagara head coach Jada Pierce said she watched Elmore play while recruiting her, but on Saturday said that she hadn’t expected Elmore to contribute nearly as much as she did for the Orange.“For us, we gave up some easy buckets to (Elmore) today,” Pierce said. “She’s come a long way from where she was in high school. Her motor is a lot better than it was and her shot is a lot better.”With Brittney Sykes as the focal point of the Orange offense on Saturday, leading SU in points, rebounds and assists — the first time an SU player has done so since 2012 — Elmore hung low in the paint behind the Niagara defense, reaping the benefits of Sykes’ drives.Up nearly 40 just before half time, Sykes drove into the Eagles’ paint, drawing two defenders before dishing a no-look pass to Gabby Cooper. Cooper snagged the pass and within seconds fired another pass to Elmore, who sat hidden behind the Eagles’ defense. She calmly banked it off the backboard for two points.“This is what (Hillsman) expects from me,” Elmore said. “Now that he knows it’s there, I have to keep playing like that.”Hillsman said Elmore has brought her conditioning to the next level and gotten herself in the gym more to improve. He said that when she’s at her best, the 5-foot-9 guard can play the 4 or the 5. She gave him a glimpse of her potential, a glimpse of the skilled guard whom he expected when he recruited her and a glimpse of what the Orange could expect from her come conference play.“It’s going to be critical for us,” Hillsman said of Elmore’s development. “She’s definitely worked her way into her minutes and she’s doing a great job.” Comments Published on December 10, 2016 at 7:09 pm Contact Matt: [email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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