Syracuse tries to replicate game plan for lethal Washington scorer Kelsey Plum

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on April 2, 2016 at 9:15 pm Contact Paul: pmschwed@syr.edu | @pschweds INDIANAPOLIS — Before Syracuse’s first-round game against Army, the Orange used its prior experience against Washington to prep for the Black Knights point guard. The Black Knights’ Kelsey Minato, the seventh-leading scorer in the country, was a dynamic scorer just like UW’s Kelsey Plum, the third-leading scorer in the nation.Two weeks after beating Army by 17, Syracuse will face Plum and Washington again. Except this time, it’s in the Final Four with a trip to each teams’ first-ever title game on the line.And defending an evolved Plum, who is averaging 25 points in seven postseason games, is right at the top of the Orange’s game plan.“You can say, ‘Hey it’s nothing new,’ but players get better throughout the season,” SU guard Brittney Sykes said. “She has been coming in really really clutch for her team, as she should being the player that she is.”No. 4 seed SU (29-7, 13-3 Atlantic Coast) faces No. 7 seed Washington (26-10, 11-7 Pac-12) on Sunday at 8:30 p.m. in Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Plum scored 19 in the first meeting between these teams, but the rematch comes as both teams are playing their best basketball of the season. The Orange’s full-court press and half-court zone defensive combination has flustered opponents throughout the first four games of the tournament while Plum has capitalized on teammates spacing the floor better.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWhile Cornelia Fondren said the game plan to defend her is still the same as it was for the first game, which the Orange won by four, SU head coach Quentin Hillsman said he would consider going to a box-and-one or even a triangle-and-two to defend Plum if her shooting stroke heats up.“Defending Kelsey Plum, that’s it,” Hillsman said of the biggest challenge defending Plum. “She’s an amazing scorer. You have to find her early in transition and you have to really stay in front of her. She’s a really crafty guard.”Similar to Minato, who SU held scoreless in the first half, Plum can be deceptive. The point guard can score from anywhere on the court, Fondren said, and being a lefty, too, adds in another wrinkle to remember on defense.Despite her impressive scoring ability, the 5-foot-8 Plum doesn’t stand out much.“That kid looks like 90 percent of the other kids walking down the mall,” UW head coach Mike Neighbors said. “If you saw her shopping, you wouldn’t know she was Kelsey Plum. … She just looks like every kid else that’s out there.”Plum said playing teams later on in the season that use their athleticism to pressure ball-handlers like Arizona State and UCLA has given the Huskies some prep for Syracuse. But this week, UW hasn’t been able to use the men’s practice players it uses when practicing at home.Since the Orange’s defense is different than most teams and it can’t be simulated in practice, it’ll come down to in-game adjustments, an area Neighbors said he lost to Hillsman the last time they played.And Hillsman knows how much that coaching matchup could come down to Plum.“She’s just a really good player and you have to make sure you have someone guarding her at all times,” Hillsman said. “When she’s in the shooting area, she’s a threat.” Commentslast_img read more

Jake Arrieta injury update: Phillies pitcher had knee surgery during offseason

first_img Phillies, Aaron Nola agree to new 4-year contract “There were no structural issues,” Kapler said, per The Philadelphia Inquirer. “He’s already been off the mound a couple of times. We’re just going to be smart about his running and cutting progression.“Arrieta is right on track to start. We may slow several guys down, and we might not come out with our five-man rotation at the start. But it’s not going to be due to injury. It’s going to be our progression plan.” Related News Arrieta, 32, tallied a 10-11 record with a 3.96 ERA in 31 starts during his first season with Philadelphia. He struck out 138 batters and walked 57 in 172 2/3 innings on the mound.center_img Phillies pitcher Jake Arrieta underwent knee surgery just before spring training but is expected to be ready for opening day. Manager Gabe Kapler revealed Arrieta injured his knee during an offseason weight-training workout. He called the surgery “just a meniscus cleanup” and revealed Arrieta has already thrown off the mound.last_img read more

Lakers’ LeBron James misses Sunday’s game with muscle strain

first_img Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersThe first public sign that James, an MVP candidate so far, would miss Sunday’s game at Staples Center was on Saturday afternoon, when the Lakers said he had missed practice and would be doubtful for the home contest.Vogel said James had collided with a Pacers player in Indianapolis on Tuesday, but played through the injury in the Milwaukee game on Thursday. James had averaged a triple-double in the two games, and while he told reporters in Indiana that he thought he might be coming down with a cold, he didn’t mention any other discomfort.The Lakers started Rajon Rondo in response to James’ absence. Vogel has often talked about Rondo as the other “quarterback” of his offense alongside James. While Rondo’s per-game average for assists has dropped this year (5.6 apg), Vogel said he thought Rondo’s improved 3-point percentage (42.9 percent) had helped set up his playmaking.Related Articles Vogel acknowledged that Kuzma has been behind the eight-ball since summer, when a foot injury caused him to miss all of training camp. He called it “impossible for him to be comfortable since he’s missed nine games so far this season with various ailments.“Now we start the process again of getting him back involved and getting him comfortable,” he said. “He’s a young player with a whole new cast of teammates and a new coaching staff, a new system. So with younger guys, you know, it takes a little time sometimes, but he’s gonna be a huge, huge factor for us this year.”Lakers lit a fire under JokicSince an underwhelming close to last year’s second round of the postseason, there’s been a few question marks about Nikola Jokic, a top-five finisher in MVP balloting last season. A sluggish start to the year only added to the cloud over his head.After a Dec. 4 loss to the Lakers, Jokic told local media, “I’m struggling.”But for the last eight games, Jokic has turned things around. He’s averaging 22.8 points, 10.3 rebounds and 8.3 assists as the Nuggets have won five in a row entering Sunday’s game. Coach Mike Malone said pregame that Jokic has put a lot of outside doubts behind him.“He’s an MVP candidate for a reason,” he said. “We’re more than having fun, we’re just getting back to the way we’ve played for five years.”How much did that have to do with the Lakers? In that last match-up, Jokic was just 2 for 7 in the final quarter, as Anthony Davis stood tall on defense. It might’ve been the catalyst for the Serbian center to play back to his All-NBA level.Malone felt at the least, Jokic was more aggressive in the end of that game than he had been to start the season.“His aggression, that’s what Iiked in that game,” he said. “It carried over to that road trip where it kinda kicked off his recent surge in his play.” Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs “When he’s knocking down threes, the defense is chasing over and they’re staying with him on the perimeter and it opens things up,” Vogel said. “But when they chase over his pick and rolls or his pin downs or whatever action he’s in, he gets going downhill. He’ll pick defences apart.”The Lakers were glad to welcome back Kyle Kuzma, who scored his first basket toward the end of the first quarter, which was his first points since Dec. 8 against Minnesota. Kuzma had missed five straight games entering Sunday night. Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions center_img How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years LOS ANGELES — He was in his usual seat, at the end of the Lakers’ bench to the right of DeMarcus Cousins. But he was not in his usual attire: a black hoodie and a black blazer, wearing a number of rings and wristbands.LeBron James (thoracic muscle strain) did not play on Sunday afternoon against the Nuggets, the first time he has missed game this season.The Lakers had anticipated this might happen, so Frank Vogel didn’t carry any sense of panic as he talked pregame about playing without his star. But the moment did feel a little grim.“The medical team just told me he’s day to day,” he said. “We’ll literally take each step one day at a time.” Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more