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Digna Strautmane scores career-high 19 points in Syracuse’s 72-62 win over Drexel

first_imgMegan Marecic, who scored a first-half-high 15 points for Drexel, drove to her dominant left side towards Digna Strautmane and attempted a lefty runner. Strautmane extended both her arms, blocking the shot with two hands. The ball trickled away as Strautmane immediately dove on the floor after it. She gathered the ball and drew a foul on the late-to-dive Marecic.Syracuse (10-0) trailed by eight points at halftime but took charge in the second half, in large part because of Strautmane’s play. The freshman’s career-high 19 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks helped SU come back against Drexel (6-4), 72-62, on Saturday night in the Carrier Dome. Strautmane’s rebound and block totals also matched career-highs. Nine of her points, five of her rebounds and the two-handed block came in a momentum-changing third quarter.“We were definitely trying to get the ball to her inside,” SU head coach Quentin Hillsman said. “We knew if we could get the ball inside, we could exploit some of the matchups they had.”The Orange began the second half trailing the Dragons, 41-33. SU had struggled to get the ball into the middle of Drexel’s matchup zone, meaning DU never had to worry about collapsing on an inside presence and could instead lock down the perimeter. Following a Tiana Mangakahia bucket to open the second half, Strautmane began the task of forcing Drexel’s defense to defend the interior. She caught the ball at the free throw line, moved to her right and pulled up for a fadeaway jumper that went through.“She was catching the ball in the high post and making plays,” Hillsman said.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textA few trips down the floor later and Strautmane caught the ball on the left wing, pulled up and drained a 3-pointer. Strautmane continued to showcase her versatility later in the third when she caught the ball on the left block and drop-stepped toward the baseline before extending her left arm out and scooping the ball up and into the basket.Strautmane’s third-quarter scoring concluded with an easy bucket in transition. Gabrielle Cooper stole the ball and fed it to Mangakahia, who spotted Strautmane streaking down the center of the floor. The point guards lob floated up and over Drexel defenders, letting Strautmane simply step up and finish at the basket.“I think the thing helping us the most (in the second half) was that our shots were dropping,” Mangakahia said, “and Digna running the floor so I could look up to her.”By the end of Strautmane’s nine-point third quarter, Syracuse had taken a five-point lead behind a 21-8 third quarter.Strautmane only scored once in the fourth quarter but it was an impressive finish to a career-night. She caught the ball on the right block with her back to the basket with a little more than four minutes left in the game. Using her left foot as a pivot, she stepped with her right toward the baseline and away from the basket. Simultaneously, she leaned her upper body into Drexel’s Niki Metzel, drawing a whistle. As the whistle blew, Strautmane faded away and nailed the shot. She made the free throw to complete the three-point play.“I knew that they’re strong,” Strautmane said. “I just had to put my (power) out there.”It could have been the exclamation point to her night if not for a defensive play a few minutes later.Again, Marecic tried to drive left and again Strautmane waited near the basket. This time, Marecic seemed to sense Strautmane would look to block the shot, so she faded away a bit more and leapt higher. But the Syracuse freshman just swung her right arm back and then straight down through the ball for her fourth and final block of the night.Marecic, who had scored 15 in the first half, contributed just two points to the second-half cause. When SU shut down Marecic’s opportunities to shoot the 3-ball, Strautmane made sure the shutdown continued near the basket.Syracuse needed to shut Marecic down in the second half and needed to consistently score to close the gap with Drexel. Strautmane helped plenty with both causes.“Everybody started to play hard so I just started to push myself, too,” Strautmane said. Comments Published on December 9, 2017 at 9:54 pm Contact Billy: [email protected] | @Wheyen3 Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

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