Point guards lead unbeaten Orange into Top 25 tilt at Iowa

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on December 5, 2013 at 2:37 am Contact Josh: [email protected] Rachel Coffey had shot just 1-of-6 from the field and had committed three turnovers. Cornelia Fondren was sidelined with an illness. So with 13 minutes left and Syracuse hanging on to a 13-point lead against Texas A&M, Orange head coach Quentin Hillsman turned to freshman Alexis Peterson. The point guard exited the game just more than five minutes later, and SU had extended its lead against one of the best teams in the country to 15. Hillsman said that Peterson was one of the main reasons SU upset the then-No. 12 Aggies last Saturday at the Paradise Jam Reef Division tournament in the U.S. Virgin Islands. “We have three tremendously talented point guards,” Hillsman said. “Every night they’ve all played well, they’ve all pushed the tempo, and they’ve all allowed us to play fast for 40 minutes. That’s what you want to do in that position.”The trio of Coffey, Fondren and Peterson will be on display Thursday as the No. 22 Orange (8-0) travels to Iowa City, Iowa, to face the No. 25 Hawkeyes (8-1) at 7 p.m. as part of the Big Ten-Atlantic Coast Conference Challenge.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textHaving the luxury of three capable lead guards, Hillsman has not officially named a permanent starter at the position. Hillsman said he handles the allotment of minutes on a game-to-game basis, and that in late-game situations he is going to play whoever has been most effective that night. “The first game (Hillsman) called names and that’s how we knew who was going in,” Coffey said. “Practice time, we have first group, second group, we have different groups, but you still never know who’s going to start. So it was never officially set until the first game.”Coffey, a senior, has started all of the Orange’s games so far this season, averaging 19 minutes. Fondren, who started 31 of 32 games last year as a freshman, averages almost 14 minutes, and the freshman Peterson plays almost 10 minutes a game. Fondren, who has relinquished her starter’s role from last year, said it doesn’t matter who opens the game at the point guard spot or is receiving the most minutes as long as the team wins. “As long as we all just play and we go out there and win, it’s alright with me,” Fondren said. “ … I’m glad we’re all playing and get an opportunity to go in and show our skills. I think it’s a good thing (Hillsman) has given all three of us a chance to even play.”All three possess unique skillsets. Coffey is more of a distributor, and has a team-leading 30 assists. Fondren has a ferocious tenacity on the defensive end. Both Coffey and Fondren have seven steals this season, but Fondren has done it in 55 fewer minutes. Peterson possesses similar skills to both, and has made 47.1 percent of the shots she has taken.And like center Shakeya Leary benefitted from facing the now-graduated center Kayla Alexander every day in practice, the three point guards have been prepared for their opponents after facing tough competition in practice. Fondren said it brings out the best in all of them when they play against each other. While Coffey is the veteran and Fondren started all of last year, the rookie Peterson has come in and turned heads. “She’s still young so she’s still going to make mistakes, but she’s controlling the tempo very well,” Coffey said. “The way that she can score, she can really get to the basket.”Coffey has played more minutes than Fondren and Peterson in five of eight games, but the three share the load. Against Maryland Eastern Shore, Peterson led the three with 14 minutes while Coffey and Fondren played 13. Against Cornell, Coffey played 17 minutes and Fondren and Peterson played 14. “All of us can play at any time,” Coffey said. “I don’t think anyone is better than the other. I think we all play a different game.” Commentslast_img