Drummond, Mangakahia come away with double-doubles in win against Towson
Drummond, Mangakahia score double-doubles win over Towson
In their second-ever matchup, the Syracuse women’s basketball team (7-2) had an easy win over Towson (3-4) this afternoon, 98-55. This was the Orange’s highest-scoring game since scoring 95 points against Morgan State in the 2017-18 season-opener.
Coming off a four-point road loss to Minnesota in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, the 12th-ranked Orange came out ready to play against the Tigers. Both redshirt senior forward Miranda Drummond and junior guard Tiana Mangakahia, who was recently named ACC Player of the Week, ended with double-doubles; Drummond had 17 points and 10 rebounds, while Mangakahia recorded 13 points and 12 assists.
“I thought that we just really had a different kind of energy in this game,” Syracuse Head Coach Quentin Hillsman said. “[We] came out with some kind of urgency, and we understood that we needed to get a game back from our last game.”
Defense leads to Offense
The Orange started a full-court press early on, forcing Towson to commit 17 turnovers in the first half. With six minutes left in the first quarter, Syracuse led by 11 points, 14-3. Towson kept up and with two three-pointers and a lay-up from the Tigers’ Kionna Jeter, Towson was able to cut the Orange’s lead to only six points at the end of the first.
But the Orange revved it up in the second quarter. Within eight seconds, Digna Strautmane landed a three and the Orange appeared to be in sync from that point on.
“They were attacking us in transition in the first quarter,” Hillsman said. “But I thought we did a good job coming out in the second quarter and really keeping them in front of us and guarding the ball a little bit better.”
In the second quarter alone, Mangakahia dropped eight points, while Gabrielle Cooper had six, and Strautmane came away with five. Strautmane ended the game with a season-high 19 points.
“We all played together, so it was just our game — how we played,” Strautmane said. “It just came naturally.”
A True Team Effort
Mangakahia agreed and said everyone on the team contributed to today’s win.
“I think that’s what matters the most to us is everyone contributing, players off the bench coming in and doing well,” Mangakahia said. “I think everyone playing their hardest and supporting whoever’s on the court at that time is what’s very important.”
In an essential play to really solidify the Orange’s lead over Towson, Drummond was fouled at the three-point line with one second left in the first half. Drummond, who is currently fighting through some lower back pain, made all three free throws to put the Orange up 52-29 at the half.
“She’s a little banged up, she might be the most banged up [on the team] right now, but she’s playing well and she’s fighting through it,” Hillsman said. “We’ve got to give her a lot of credit for toughness and her will to win.”
Pedal to the Floor
According to Hillsman, the biggest difference in this game and the Orange’s earlier contests was their aggressiveness. Today the Orange looked to draw fouls, getting into the bonus early in the second quarter. Against Minnesota, the Orange only attempted six foul shots. Today, the Orange went 21-26, a season-high.
“I thought today from start to finish, we did a good job of being aggressive, being physical, playing hard,” Hillsman said.
Winning the Turnover Battle
Syracuse came out in the third quarter looking to force turnovers. The Tigers ended the quarter with eight, and the Orange ended with only three. Cooper was able to close out the third for the Orange with a three at the buzzer. Overall, the Orange committed 18 turnovers while forcing 30 from the Tigers.
The Orange shot 44.6 percent from the field and 31.4 percent from the arc.
Syracuse will take on Maryland Eastern Shore on Wednesday, Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. in the Dome.