Syracuse’s Tiana Mangakahia is a passer one game, a scorer the next

first_imgThree days after Tiana Mangakahia torched Georgia Tech to the tune of a career-high 44 points, then-No. 11 Florida State tried to clamp down on SU’s dynamic point guard.When Mangakahia seemed to slip free of her defender thanks to an on-ball screen, the Seminoles sent help to hedge hard and force the point guard to find an outlet. FSU wasn’t going to let Mangakahia beat them.She still did though, dishing 13 assists, namely to Miranda Drummond, who racked up 38 points and led the Orange to an upset win.“It’s about what we needed,” head coach Quentin Hillsman said. “We needed all 44 points for us to win the game, and she went out and did that. The next game, they kinda sat on her a little harder and she just found her teammates.”Roughly halfway through her inaugural season with Syracuse (14-4, 2-3 Atlantic Coast), Mangakahia has shown an innate ability to flip the switch from scoring to passing. On Jan. 4 against the Yellow Jackets, it was her turn to pile on point after point. Against FSU, she quickly realized she couldn’t be the main scorer and fed Drummond. One way or the other, game by game, Mangakahia can fill whichever role is needed of her.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“When I’m not having a good day,” Mangakahia said, “we can all step up, we can all contribute.”Dan Olson, the director of girlsbasketballreport.com, which is partnered with ESPNW, ranked Mangakahia as the top junior college point guard when she was at Hutchinson Community College. Then, she was entirely pass-first, and Olson called her the “purest of point guards” and a “distributor.”Earlier this season, Mangakahia fit that bill. She started the season with a six-point, 10-assist outing against Morgan State, and didn’t dip below 10 helpers until the ninth game of the season — a 79-39 blowout against Colgate in which Mangakahia played a season-low 28 minutes.Now, though, Mangakahia looks to pass or score based on what she sees from a defense, she said. Against GT, the defense “sagged” when she came off screens. This gave her room to move downhill and attack the basket.Kevin Camelo | Digital Design EditorThree days later, Florida State went out of its way to stop Mangakahia, so she beat them by helping Drummond light it up. Against FSU, the defense dictated Mangakahia’s play, Hillsman said.To slow Mangakahia down, the Seminoles sent an extra defender to the top of the key when she dribbled around a ball screen. If they didn’t show her a double team, the Seminoles hedged the screen hard, slowing Mangakahia enough to let her defender try and fight through the screen.But by choosing to doggedly focus on Mangakahia, the Seminoles left others open.“I did feel like they weren’t letting me get into the lane as much,” Mangakahia said. “… when teams start to take away something, you try something else.”When she is forced into passing, Mangakahia has excelled at making defenses pay — 11 times this season, she has racked up at least 10 assists.Some passes come in the form of drive-and-kicks, when Mangakahia will crash into the lane, causing the defense to collapse and letting her feed an open shooter. In other instances, she’ll bounce a pass to a back-cutting Drummond. When she looks for the bigs down low, Mangakahia will float a lob, letting the lengthy Digna Strautmane or Amaya Finklea-Guity grab it.“I just try and do whatever the defense gives me,” Mangakahia said. “Against Georgia Tech I felt like I could attack them, and I stuck to that.”During a five-game stretch starting in December, Mangakahia failed to eclipse 10 assists in any contest. However, she averaged 24.4 points per game over that span, the most of any Syracuse player.One of those games was a 12-point, nine-assist outing against UNLV on Dec. 22, but the day before, Mangakahia scored 20 against then-No. 5 Mississippi State. A week later, on Dec. 28, she poured in 26 in South Bend, Indiana, when SU faced then-No. 2 Notre Dame.Then, it was 44 against GT. It seemed Mangakahia was poised to continue her hot scoring, to fill it up every game, almost at will.But Florida State decided to slow her scoring, so she decided to pass. Comments Published on January 16, 2018 at 11:27 pm Contact Andrew: aegraham@syr.edu | @A_E_Graham Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Softball: Badgers sweep double-header with two mercies

first_imgWisconsin softball hosted the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Phoenix for a double-header during a chilly afternoon Tuesday, but the weather did not seem to affect the Badgers.Wisconsin’s (26-19-1) bats came alive as the team dominated both games 8-0, thanks to a strong performance at the mound from pitcher Taylor-Paige Stewart and situational hitting.The Badgers were held in check for the majority of the first game, only leading 2-0 going into the bottom half of the fifth inning. But the team would go on to score six in the final two innings, invoking the mercy rule for an early end to the game.Wisconsin expanded on their two-run lead thanks to an RBI single by Ashley Van Zeeland in the fifth and a sacrifice fly by Melanie Cross increased their lead to 4-0.Sara Novak sunk the dagger in the sixth when an RBI single and an error allowed another score, putting the Badgers up by six. Wisconsin would add two more in the frame to get the final score of 8-0.Stewart, who received the win in both contests and improved to 15-10 on the year, was on cruise control for both games. The senior allowed only one hit in each game while striking out nine in the first of the twin bill, tying her season high. Stewart added another five punch-outs in game two and again allowed only one unearned run in her three innings pitched.With an ample amount of run support in both games, Stewart said games like these ease the pressure when pitching.“The atmosphere of our dugout changes and the stress on the mound definitely decreases when you know your offense is lighting it up,” Stewart said.The Badgers picked up right where they left off in game two by getting to Phoenix pitcher Katie Rossman early in the bottom of the first. Both Kelsey Jenkins and Van Zeeland reached base, and were followed by Chloe Miller’s three-run blast to right — all before Green Bay recorded an out.“[Hitting a home run] always feels good,” Miller said. “It happens in practice, but until you get it in the game, there’s nothing like seeing your team when you cross home plate.”Wisconsin continued to pile on hits and runs in the following two innings.In the second, Jenkins ripped an RBI-double down the left field line and followed with a third inning that saw Katie Christner hit a line-drive home run down the left field line, which got out in a hurry to give the Badgers a 5-0 lead. Wisconsin chased Rossman in the same inning while tacking on three more runs and would hold their eight-run lead to the end of the fifth to again force the mercy rule.Coming into the day’s double-header, Wisconsin owned a 4-6-1 record at home, but head coach Yvette Healy said wins like these are what her team needed as they try to qualify for the Big Ten Tournament in two weeks.“Just to play well on our field is a big deal,” Healy said. “This weekend is another huge weekend and I think these mid-week games give us a little momentum going into it.”The Badgers will welcome the Northwestern Wildcats this weekend for a three-game set and the team’s final home series of the season. First pitch is slated for 3 p.m Friday.last_img read more

Ronaldo’s Bicycle Kick Goal Voted UEFA Goal of the Season

first_imgCristiano Ronaldo’s stunning overhead kick for Real Madrid against his current club Juventus has been announced as UEFA Goal of the Season.Ronaldo lit up the Champions League quarter-final first-leg tie against Juventus with his remarkable bicycle kick to put Madrid 2-0 up and in a commanding position to progress to the semi-finals.And his effort – which was even applauded by the Juventus faithful inside the stadium back in April – topped the poll with nearly 200,000 of the overall 346,915 votes. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner succeeds his now Juventus team-mate Mario Mandzukic, who won the award last year following his bicycle kick in the Champions League final in 2017 in Cardiff against Madrid.Ronaldo’s special goal beat Gareth Bale’s bicycle kick against Liverpool in Kiev and in fact, the Welshman’s effort wasn’t even one of the 11 nominations for the award.Ronaldo’s jaw-dropping strike is widely considered to be his very best and he has even admitted as much, before claiming the reaction from Juventus fans after his goal played a major factor in him deciding to move to Turin.After hearing the news that he won the UEFA award yesterday, Ronaldo took to Instagram to thank his fans for voting for him and gave a special shout-out to the Juventus supporters inside the stadium that night.The Portugal international wrote: ‘Thanks to everyone who voted for me.‘Will never forget that moment, specially the reaction of the fans in the stadium. #UEFA Goal of the Season #SpecialMoment’.Dimitri Payet’s goal in Marseille’s 5-2 UEFA Europa League defeat of RB Leipzig came second, while Eva Navarro’s effort for Spain in their Women’s Under 17 Euro final victory against Germany finished third.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more