Syracuse looks to improve on rebounding front against Miami

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Syracuse knows what it needs to work on. During Wednesday morning’s film session, it was one of the primary focal points. And in losses this season, it’s been a key factor.In the Orange’s last six losses, SU has been outrebounded by an average of eight and a half boards per game, compared to the plus-3.3 margin in wins.The necessary steps to earn extra possessions are simple, head coach Quentin Hillsman said — just bring energy and effort to box out — but it’s an area Syracuse is still looking to improve.“We know we need to clean that up,” Hillsman said. “We can’t win games if we don’t rebound the ball.”No. 23 SU (17-7, 7-4 Atlantic Coast) hosts Miami (16-7, 6-4) on Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Carrier Dome and once again, its chances of winning could come down to the rebounding battle. Hillsman has played four guards at once — alongside the ACC’s second-leading rebounder in Briana Day — for a large portion of the season and his defensive tactics have both contributed to Syracuse’s defensive rebounding deficiencies.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe lineup is in place to apply a full-court press on nearly every defensive possession, but the tradeoff results in less rebounds.“That’s the only thing that it could be, possibly,” Hillsman said of SU’s height disadvantage while explaining the rebounding problems.The Orange avoided a collapse in its most recent game, a five-point win over Georgia Tech on Sunday, but the Yellow Jackets trimmed SU’s lead from 12 to five in the final four minutes. GT scored five points off five rebounds, which helped spur the comeback.Only one Syracuse guard had more than three rebounds in the win. But with only one forward on the court at a time, the rebounding burden falls on their shoulders.“You’re not used to going down there and you see the post down there and it’s really hectic,” senior guard Diamond Henderson said, “and you don’t want to get in the mix, but we have to start getting in the mix.”In SU’s biggest win of the season, a five-point triumph over then-No. 13 North Carolina last Thursday, UNC was able to get 10 rebounds in the game’s final five minutes. But the Tar Heels only turned that into two points and Syracuse squeaked out the win.The result came out in Syracuse’s favor, but North Carolina stayed in the game because of its ability to extend possessions. If the Hurricanes do the same on Thursday, the Orange could face its first loss to an unranked opponent.Part of the reason why SU’s been inefficient on the defensive glass, Henderson said, is because its guards constantly look to leak out in transition. Hillsman’s philosophy is to take as many shots as possible, which means pushing the ball on offense.“We watch the posts to see what they’re going to do and we get caught watching,” Henderson said, “because we want to get out in transition since we’re a big transition team.”The Orange has been searching for a second serviceable post player throughout the entire season to complement Day and has yet to find one.So even as she does her job, SU’s rebounding issues have continued.“Being a center is a big responsibility to rebound,” Day said, “but all five people on the floor have to rebound.” Comments Published on February 12, 2015 at 12:14 am Contact Paul: [email protected] | @pschwedslast_img read more