Cornelia Fondren gives Syracuse scoring depth off the bench

first_imgThe senior guard took advantage of a mismatch she expected entering the game. Tennessee’s 6-foot-2 Bashaara Graves was matched up on the 5-foot-8 Fondren. Though Graves is bigger, Fondren used her quick burst to drive past her. Originally a point guard, Fondren was more than comfortable dribbling the ball.Fondren made her biggest play of the game with 1:34 left in the third quarter. Again she attacked the hoop and this time made the basket while also drawing a foul. What was a four-point game a minute and a half earlier became a nine-point game.When the ball dropped through the hoop and the ref blew the whistle, Maggie Morrison pumped her arm forward. Butler held one fist in the air. The Orange had a comfortable lead and wasn’t letting up.“She’s a really good defender, player. She’s much bigger than me,” Fondren said of Graves. “… Coach Q really trusts me to get to the basket.” MORE COVERAGE:Syracuse reaches first-ever Final Four with 89-67 win over TennesseeBrianna Butler sinks six 3s in Elite Eight victoryPregame net-cutting lessons pay off for the Orange SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — One of the only things Cornelia Fondren couldn’t do on Sunday was cut down the net with ease. Before the final buzzer sounded, though, Fondren gave Syracuse the lift off the bench that has made the Orange dangerous all season.She got to the basket when she wanted to. She knocked down every field goal she took. And as Tennessee focused on other scoring threats, Fondren made the most of her chances.“Cornelia attacked us,” Volunteers head coach Holly Warlick said. “Obviously when you’re concerned with (Brianna) Butler and (Alexis) Peterson, then you open it up a little bit. She drove to the basket and did a great job.”No. 4 seed SU (29-7, 13-3 Atlantic Coast) advanced to its first Final Four in program history with an 89-67 win over No. 7 seed UT (22-14, 8-8 Southeastern) on Sunday partly because of Fondren’s aggressiveness, which resulted in 13 points in 19 minutes. It took just 31 seconds after subbing in to impose her will on the Vols’ defense.“I just wanted to attack and get to the basket,” Fondren said. “I felt like no one could stop me if I tried to go to the basket.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder text As efficient as Fondren was, foul trouble caught up to her when she committed back-to-back fouls within the final six seconds of the third quarter. The first came when Fondren tried to deflect a Diamond DeShields mid-range jump shot. After the whistle blew, Fondren slapped her hands together signaling that she got the ball and not DeShields. But regardless of the antics she had after the play, there was no way of reversing her three fouls and SU head coach Quentin Hillsman chose to leave her in the game.Three seconds later, Fondren fouled a Tennessee player after the inbounds pass and this time, Hillsman quickly plucked Brittney Sykes off the bench to replace her.“We had to continue to play our team. We had to continue to play our roster and get our regular rotations,” Hillsman said of why he left Fondren in after her third foul. “… I just took a chance to get her in the game.“She came through. She didn’t commit another foul. She was really, really big for us.”As a contributor to both Syracuse’s frontcourt and backcourt this year, Fondren once again proved her value on a Syracuse team that consistently relies on its bench. She helped SU finish out the win, something she hopes to do twice more this season.“We’re not ready to go home,” Fondren said. “We’re just taking it game by game, remain humble, finishing it out.” Comments Logan Reidsma | Senior Staff Photographercenter_img Published on March 29, 2016 at 12:04 am Contact Paul: | @pschweds Facebook Twitter Google+ Related Stories FINAL FOUR BOUND: Syracuse buries Tennessee, 89-67, heading to 1st-ever Final FourQuentin Hillsman’s net-cutting lessons put to use on SundayBrianna Butler sinks 6 3s in Elite Eight win over TennesseeStorify: Syracuse community celebrates women’s basketball Final Four berthlast_img

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