Drummond scores game-high 19 points in Orange victory over Niagara

Drummond drops 19 for an Orange victory over Niagara

Miranda Drummond ended with a game-high 19 points.
Published: December 17, 2018
Syracuse Women's Basketball vs. Niagara
Chelayne Bailey makes her way down the court around Niagara's Jai Moore during a game on Monday, Dec. 17, 2018, at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, N.Y.

The Syracuse Women’s Basketball team played hard from the tip in a 94-45 win over the Niagara Purple Eagles this morning at the Carrier Dome. Within seconds, Miranda Drummond hit a three to set the tone.

Drummond, who finished with a game-high 19 points, said making the first shot always sets a good tone for her and the team.

“It’s a good feeling,” Drummond said.

Syracuse Head Coach Quentin Hillsman was pleased with the Orange’s overall performance, noting he thought the players did a great job passing the ball in transition and pushing the ball hard down the floor.

“Offensively, I was very pleased,” he said. “I thought we shot the ball well obviously from the field, any time you can shoot the ball at 50 percent you have a chance to play well.

Syracuse Women's Basketball

Emily Engstler (21), who only played one minute against Maryland Eastern Shore, sunk 16 points and grabbed nine boards during a game against Niagara on Monday, Dec. 17, 2018, at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, N.Y.

Syracuse Women's Basketball vs. Niagara

Miranda Drummond (32) went 5-10 in three pointers for a game high 19 points during a game against Niagara on Monday, Dec. 17, 2018, at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, N.Y.

The Orange played hard from the beginning, which ultimately led to their 51-point win over Niagara. With a combination of good shots from the starters and smart plays from Hillman’s bench players, Syracuse was able to keep the lead for the entirety of the game. Today was definitely one of their best games of the season, and one of the games where the entire team really came together to contribute.

“We were able to play multiple players in different positions and just got a lot of contributions from players who really need to start to play well for us,” Hillsman said. “I’m just really happy with the win.”

Emily Engstler, who knocked down 16 points in 18 minutes of play, was vital to the team’s success today. After only playing for one minute in the Dec. 5 game against Maryland Eastern Shore, Engstler said she came into today’s matchup wanting to show she had something to prove.

“I felt like coming home with everybody in the crowd, all the kids there, I wanted to give them a game to want to watch,” she said about the 6,093 fans in the crowd, including thousands of local elementary school kids.

“The bench is a cure-all,” Hillsman said of Engstler. “When you don’t play, it cures a lot of things, and she came back and played the way we needed her to play. [If] she plays this way, she’s going to have a great college career, and I have no doubt that she will.”

Syracuse Women's Basketball
Tiana Mangakahia tries to shoot around a Niagara defender during a game on Monday, Dec. 17, 2018, at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, N.Y.

With 18 seconds left in the third, Tiana Mangakahia hit a three. Niagara inbounded the ball, but Engstler stole it and hit a jumper for another two for Syracuse. When Niagara went to inbound the ball for a second time, Engstler stole the ball again and sank a lay-up right as the third ended for a total of seven Syracuse points in 15 seconds.

Plays like this — energy like this — will take the Orange far into the post-season.

Mangakahia, who is normally a score-leader for the Orange, only finished with 8 points but had 15 assists.

Hillsman said she had a “monster game.”

The team will head down to Florida this weekend for contests against Duquesne and the University of Central Florida in the St. Pete Shootout.

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is a lead sports producer for The NewsHouse.