first_imgBrittney Sykes broke out earlier in the month against Loyola (Md.) and hasn’t slowed down since.The freshman guard followed up her 15-point day against the Greyhounds by scoring in double figures in two of her next three games, culminating with her first career 20-point performance and double-double as Syracuse (12-1) routed Boise State (6-6) 87-48 in front of 776 in the Carrier Dome Sunday.“The key for her is to just straighten out her drives and take it to the basket because she’s a load to take on when she’s getting to the basket with her athleticism,” Orange head coach Quentin Hillsman said.Sykes entered the season with lofty expectations as part of the Orange’s highly touted freshman class. After scoring 11 points in her debut, she faded into the background on a deep SU roster. But since Dec. 8, she’s been dominant on both ends of the floor.Not only has the freshman emerged as one of Syracuse’s most dynamic scorers, averaging 15.3 points over the four-game stretch, but she’s also thrived on the defensive end, turning in a pair of five-steal performances and 15 total, excelling in Syracuse’s full-court press.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBut on Sunday, what Sykes displayed most was her explosiveness—her ability to score in bunches.“I’ve got to leave her alone a little bit, let her play,” Hillsman said. “Understand that she’s a freshman, but when you have a player of her caliber and the way she can make plays, you tend to be a little tough on her.”After the Broncos opened the game with back-to-back baskets, the Orange battled back to build a 13-point lead. Things were getting out of hand for BSU, and Sykes broke the game open. Six straight points from the freshman gave SU a 31-14 lead with less than eight minutes remaining in the half.Syracuse continued its run into the locker room, where it led 46-19, and back out onto the court for the second half, ultimately building its lead to 53-19 less than two minutes into the second period.The Orange methodically built its lead for the remainder of the game. But as SU approached a 40-point lead, it was another mini-explosion from Sykes that put Syracuse over the top.Sykes scored on a breakaway layup after a steal by guard Cornelia Fondren to put the Orange up by 38, and just seconds later Sykes came away with a steal of her own – one of three of the day – before dropping in another layup to give SU a 75-35 lead. It was one last statement for the freshman before conference play begins Saturday against Marquette in Milwaukee that she’ll be a force to be reckoned with in the Big East.“I was really tough on her, but I had to settle herself down and let her make some mistakes,” Hillsman said. “Now she’s making less and less mistakes and she’s playing really physical, really aggressive.” Comments Published on December 30, 2012 at 11:13 pm Contact David: [email protected] | @DBWilson2 Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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