Buzzer-beater stands out in season full of highlights for Syracuse

first_img Published on January 29, 2013 at 1:10 am Contact David: [email protected] | @DBWilson2 Brittney Sykes stayed up until 3 a.m. the night after Syracuse beat St. John’s, waiting to see her half-court game-winner on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” Top 10.There was hockey, middle school, high school and professional basketball. The numbers counted down. Sykes started to worry her miracle heave didn’t make the cut.Then the anchor said Syracuse.“I turned my head and immediately I called my mom,” Sykes said. “I was like, ‘Mom, I made No. 1!’ It was amazing. I called my dad, I think I called everybody in my phone book.”The guard’s game-winning half-court shot gave the Orange a 60-57 win against the Red Storm in Queens, N.Y., on Wednesday. Immediately, the shot started making waves throughout the SU community, starting on social media and culminating with its appearance on “SportsCenter.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textDuring his time with the Orange, head coach Quentin Hillsman has been on the other side of deflating losses. This time, though, he had the opportunity to celebrate.“It’s cool to be on the right side of that,” Hillsman said. “Obviously it’s good for our team, it’s good for everything that we’ve done and we work really hard and the girls really compete at a high level and to have them get some national notoriety is great.”For a team that’s been largely out of the spotlight but performing admirably, Hillsman hopes this will put more people in the Carrier Dome seats.The Orange hasn’t had more than 783 fans in the stands since its season opener against Farleigh Dickinson. The highlight, paired with Syracuse’s steady ascension up and into the rankings, makes an Orange women’s basketball ticket the most appealing it’s been in recent memory.But it may not have been possible without the shot topping the Top 10. And that wouldn’t have been possible without the way the play started. A half-court shot would almost certainly find its way onto the list, but this was no ordinary half-court game-winner.With 2.8 seconds remaining, Syracuse was playing for overtime. Hillsman just wanted his team to play tough man-to-man defense. Sykes did just that, and it ended up paying off with a steal. In just a matter of seconds she was able to come away with the ball and get off a shot.“The awareness for her to actually get a shot off and not take too many dribbles and not have a chance for us to win the ball game was the most important thing,” Hillsman said.Kayla Alexander and Phylesha Bullard were sitting in Goldstein Student Center on South Campus, attempting to do homework when the Top 10 came on. Like Sykes, Alexander got worried as the countdown ticked and Syracuse wasn’t on it.When they saw it was No. 1, the two started “creating a ruckus” and making people around them mad with their raucous celebration.“You always see those on ‘SportsCenter’ Top 10, you always see it happening to other people,” Alexander said. “I’ve never experienced or been part of it, so that to happen to my teammate – wow – that’s one of — that is the highlight of my senior year so far.”When the shot actually happened, aside from Sykes, it was Carmen Tyson-Thomas who had the best reaction, Sykes said. When the shot fell through the net, Tyson-Thomas was the first one to grab Sykes. Any photos of the celebration show Tyson-Thomas in every shot.“All we hear is a bunch of screaming, yelling, and then we see Brittney running on the court and we see that the score changes,” Tyson-Thomas said. “It’s just all very quick, just all in one moment.”Though the Orange dropped its next game at Villanova on Saturday, it’s still a season-defining moment for SU. Syracuse is amid one of its most successful seasons in recent memory, but was still without a true takeaway moment.On Wednesday, Sykes’ miracle shot gave the Orange just that.“No one ever expects something like that to happen,” Tyson-Thomas said, “so when it does happen, everyone’s elated and it’s a big thing.” Comments Related Stories Watch: Brittany Sykes’ buzzer-beater from beyond halfcourt gives Syracuse women win over St. John’sFreshman Sykes’ 50-foot heave at buzzer gives Syracuse 60-57 win over St. John’scenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img