Syracuse turns to top scorer Peterson to lead way against No. 9 Florida State

first_imgAnytime Syracuse has needed a spark this season, it’s turned to Alexis Peterson. Momentum-swinging 3s, powerful and-ones and deadly pull-up jumpers have been the trademark of her game.While teammates say her biggest contribution to the Orange is her energy, it’s also Peterson’s tangible ability to score points that has been key, as shown by her team-leading 15.2 points per game.But in games against Top 25 teams, SU is 0-6 and Peterson has never led Syracuse in scoring in any of those games. She said she never feels pressure to score the big baskets in big games, but when her teammates score more in those spots, the Orange loses.“If it’s meant for me to score, it’ll happen,” Peterson said. “Or if it’s meant for me to set up someone else, that’ll be what I do.”Peterson also tops the No. 23 Orange (15-6, 5-3 Atlantic Coast) in steals and assists, but it’s the sophomore point guard’s scoring that has boosted SU this year. Syracuse will look to Peterson, who is the 10th leading scorer in the conference, to lead the way once again Monday when it takes on No. 9 Florida State (20-2, 7-1) at 7 p.m.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textHer role as the team’s go-to scorer is a new one this season. Peterson averaged just three points per game as a freshman. This year, head coach Quentin Hillsman doesn’t run any plays designed for her, but she still draws attention from defenses.“She’s your biggest threat with the ball in her hands. So you’d like to get it out of her hands as much as possible,” Wake Forest head coach Jen Hoover said after Peterson scored 32 points against her team on Jan. 15. “… I think everybody’s noticed what she’s doing this year.”Peterson is Syracuse’s most dynamic player and in losses, she’s averaging 13.3 points, compared to 16 points in wins. The drop-off isn’t huge, but on Dec. 19 against Baylor, she missed a potential game-tying layup with four seconds left and the Orange lost by two.In SU’s most recent game, a 78-58 road loss against No. 8 Louisville on Thursday, Peterson scored nine points and only two in the first half. She shot 3-of-15 overall, and by time she started producing, the game was already out of reach.In all six losses, the Orange was led in scoring by either Diamond Henderson or Brianna Butler — two players who shoot far less efficiently than Peterson does. Butler and Henderson are shooting 28.3 percent and 36 percent from the field, respectively, as Peterson is shooting 46.3 percent.Though Peterson is the team’s leading scorer and is needed in games against top teams, Hillsman said she’s done enough in other ways outside of scoring to help her team.“I don’t know if it does or not (hurt the team when Peterson’s not scoring) because she’s really good on defense and she really does a very good job of keeping her teammates involved,” Hillsman said. “So I don’t know if it’s a negative of her not scoring.”SU’s next two games are against ranked teams — the Orange will play No. 16 North Carolina on Thursday — and Peterson’s role in big games will continue to be defined.Center Briana Day said in order for Syracuse to be successful, it shouldn’t rely just on Peterson against top teams.“It makes others step up,” Day said. “I mean people have to step up regardless but it makes other people step up when we need points or we need scoring.”CORRECTION: In an original version of this story, the day of Syracuse’s loss to Louisville was incorrect. SU lost to Louisville on Thursday. The Daily Orange regrets this error.  Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on February 1, 2015 at 11:10 pm Contact Paul: [email protected] | @pschwedslast_img read more