Alexis Peterson helping Syracuse as a distributor, not just as a scorer

first_img Published on January 7, 2016 at 12:54 pm Contact Paul: [email protected] | @pschweds Facebook Twitter Google+ All it took was just more than a minute and a half to stretch Syracuse’s lead over Duke from nine to 16. And Alexis Peterson, who kept finding the right teammates, was at the forefront of Sunday’s first-quarter domination.First she beat Duke’s full-court press by feeding an open Taylor Ford for a corner 3.After two made Blue Devils free throws, Peterson rushed up the court and set up an Isabella Slim layup as the defense slid toward Peterson.A trap and steal at halfcourt led to a two-on-one and Peterson dished the ball to Cornelia Fondren under the basket for two points.“Being able to set everyone else up and allow them to be contributing factors on our offense,” Peterson said, “I think it just makes the game a lot easier for me to where I can get everyone else going and make everyone else a threat.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textPeterson, the Orange’s (11-3, 1-0 Atlantic Coast) junior starting point guard, doesn’t have to take over games scoring-wise like she occasionally had to last year. Instead, she’s finding open teammates and playing more well-rounded, more like what she called a “true” point guard.Heading into its matchup with North Carolina (11-5, 1-0) on Thursday at 7 p.m, SU has scored at least 83 points in its last four games. Peterson has dropped 34 assists in that stretch, and SU is playing the best it has all season. Her 5.5 assists per game this season and 2.3 assist-to-turnover ratio both lead the ACC.Peterson is still leading Syracuse in scoring average at 14.4 points, but through 14 games, she’s scored more than 20 points just once. In 32 games last year, she did that seven times.“There were games (last season) where if she didn’t score 30, we weren’t going to win the game,” Orange head coach Quentin Hillsman said. “She’s not in that position anymore and I think it’s really changing everything about her game.”In the marquee win of the season against then-No. 12 Duke, SU’s offense was kick-started by the Blue Devils’ 32 turnovers. Off the turnover, Peterson often received the outlet, looked up the court and made a pass that led to Syracuse’s 27 points off turnovers. She finished with a career-high 13 assists.Peterson said her first look in transition is toward the post player running straight to the hoop for an uncontested layup. If that’s guarded, Peterson looks toward the 3-point line for a shooter spotting up. The last option, Peterson said, is to take it herself.“I really think she’s learned about segments of the game,” guard Brittney Sykes said, “and knowing when to drive or decision-making in the sense of when’s the right time to drive. … (Peterson’s) just controlling the tempo of the game.”In early December, assistant coach Tammi Reiss said Peterson was still trying to find her rhythm and learn her teammates. As Sykes played her first games coming off her second torn ACL, she worked on her jump shot, a previously weaker part of her game. Reiss said Peterson was still adjusting to Sykes, who played just three games last season.But with less than two months remaining in the season, Peterson is setting the fast pace that Hillsman wants his team to play at. She’s not relied upon as much as a scorer, but she’s instead controlling the game as a distributor.“I’m just trying to take what the defense gives me,” Peterson said. “If they’re guarding me I know I can break my player down and get someone else a shot that’s open.” Commentslast_img

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