WBB : With Alexander in foul trouble, redshirt freshman Leary steps up, posts career highs in SU win

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first_imgQuentin Hillsman said he never would have expected this result. Not with the way the game unfolded.Syracuse leading scorer Kayla Alexander was stuck on the bench with foul trouble. She didn’t make a shot from the field and finished with two points in nine minutes. The Orange’s go-to scorer in the low post had to watch from the sidelines.Enter Shakeya Leary.‘If you told me we would have a game where Kayla would have four fouls and we’d win by 20-something points, I wouldn’t believe it,’ SU’s head coach Hillsman said. ‘But Shakeya Leary stepped in and had a monster game today.’Leary had a career day as SU (13-2, 1-1 Big East) beat Seton Hall 75-50 in front of 1,135 at the Carrier Dome Saturday. The redshirt freshman tallied career highs with 13 points, 19 rebounds and seven blocks in another personal-best 29 minutes of action. Leary went 4-for-6 from the field and helped the Syracuse defense stifle the Pirates’ attack. The Orange held Seton Hall (7-9, 0-3) to just 21.3 percent shooting.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text‘These kinds of games of (Leary) playing well don’t surprise me,’ Hillsman said. ‘But obviously these numbers are big. I thought that she got minutes, that she got into a flow and she played well.’Both teams struggled mightily on offense to start the game. Through the first four minutes of action, the Orange turned the ball over six times while the Pirates coughed it up on seven possessions.Alexander picked up two quick fouls trying to work through her defenders in the post. Less than a minute after the second call, the sophomore center hacked Seton Hall forward Kandice Green in the post, forcing her to the bench for the rest of the half with 13:02 left on the clock.‘It was great to get her out of there,’ Seton Hall head coach Anne Donovan said. ‘But we can’t put the ball in the hole.’With Alexander out of the game, the Pirates repeatedly attacked the basket from the low post. But Leary wouldn’t budge underneath.If she didn’t send the shot back, the redshirt freshman simply held her ground and altered countless shots by Green and SHU center Tajay Ashmeade. And when those shots missed, Leary was right there to clean up the glass.She had 11 rebounds and six blocks by halftime.‘I just kept being physical,’ the soft-spoken Leary said. ‘Doing what coaches tell us to do.’While the Pirates struggled, sophomores Carmen Tyson-Thomas and Elashier Hall gave the Orange a spark it needed to end the first half on a 26-9 run. Tyson-Thomas came off the bench and knocked down knocked down three 3-pointers to give her 13 of her 15 points before the break. Hall added two 3s of her own in the first half and tallied nine of her team-leading 16 points in the first 20 minutes to help put SU up 39-21 at halftime.Alexander returned to the floor to open the second half but picked up her fourth foul trying to help on a drive to the basket with 18:37 left. The Orange’s leading scorer didn’t log any minutes after that, as SU didn’t need her on the court. Syracuse suffocated the Pirates’ offense and it never led by less than 16 after halftime.‘Just being everywhere,’ Hall said was key to SU’s performance on defense. ‘Playing hard, working hard, getting to the high post, getting to the corners. On every catch, we’re there. Just being aggressive and playing our principles.’And Leary continued her big day into the second half. She was the beneficiary of feeds from her Orange teammates underneath that resulted in easy buckets and was able to get to the free throw line nine times in the second half.And just as Hillsman said he wouldn’t expect a 75-50 win with Alexander on the bench in foul trouble, Seton Hall head coach Donovan said she was surprised by Leary’s performance, too.‘Clearly, Syracuse has some depth,’ Donovan said. ‘… Although I knew (Hillsman) had good players coming into the post, I didn’t expect (Leary) to come in and have that kind of double-double off the bench.’[email protected] Comments Published on January 7, 2011 at 12:00 pmcenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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