Orange deal UC crushing loss

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One year after Shareese Ulis knocked down a 3-pointer with four seconds remaining against Syracuse in the Carrier Dome to send the game to overtime, Ulis hit another long-range shot with the same time remaining, but this time Cincinnati trailed by five.


The Orange defeated UC 55-53 Tuesday at Fifth Third Arena in the Bearcats' most complete contest in conference play.    


Down two with 3:15 remaining, Cincinnati had five-straight possessions with a chance to knot the game but was unsuccessful.


"We lost the game down the stretch," Ulis said. "A couple turnovers and a couple missed layups killed us."

Orange guard Elashier Hall split a pair from the charity stripe giving her team a three-point lead with 30 seconds remaining. 


Ulis had an opportunity to match her late-game heroics from last year, but opted to drive before passing to guard Bjonee Reaves, who dribbled off her foot with 11 seconds left.


"After the missed free throw we wanted to get a quick two," Ulis said. "I attempted to go to the basket but they doubled me so I kicked it out."


The contest was all but over when Ulis hit the final shot of the game.


The Bearcats led by as many as 19 in the first half while heating up with 6 3-pointers on 10 attempts and 47.8 percent shooting from the field.


Ulis scored a game-high 20 points and freshman Kayla Cook dropped 13. The pair combined for 5-5 shooting from long range from the outset.


"I think we were [due for a good shooting streak]," Cook said. "During this losing streak we haven't been shooting the ball very well. I think it just felt really well and kept us going. It brings everybody together. We fed from that and that's how we got our lead in the first half."


The Orange meanwhile started the contest 0-12 from the field.


Syracuse's first basket came at the 8:15 mark when Kayla Alexander put back her missed shot. Alexander led the Orange with 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds.  


The Bearcats had their best offensive half in the Big East with fluid ball movement and crisp passing in the paint leading to layups.


"We were getting every shot that we wanted," UC head coach Jamelle Elliott said. "We were making every three that we took. We were getting easy baskets around the bucket."


The 32 first-half points UC netted was it's most since 36 against South Florida Jan. 5.


UC stretched the Syracuse zone defense with deep 3-pointers.   


The Orange subsequently switched to a man-to-man defense to disrupt the Bearcats' rhythm.


"Syracuse is a team that plays 40 minutes of zone," Elliott said. "They have beaten the likes of Louisville, No. 22 St. Johns playing 40 minutes of zone. The Cincinnati Bearcats made them get out of their zone after 15 minutes of play."


SU Forward Carmen Tyson-Thomas came off the bench to knock down three triples during a 13-2 run to end the half.


The change in defense limited leading scorers Cook and Ulis' touches, as UC was unable to regain its momentum.


"We lost the game when they took our best players out of it," Elliott said. "They didn't allow [Ulis and Cook] to catch the ball."


Alexander scored on four-straight possessions on the low block in the midst of a 31-6 SU streak. Her second bucket at the 16:34 mark gave the Orange their first lead since the score was 2-0. 

Syracuse, No. 1 in the nation with 15.5 rebounding margin, was out rebounded by UC 35-34.


Syracuse's last basket came with 8:16 remaining but went 5-6 on free throws down the stretch.


UC dropped its first contest of the season when leading at halftime, it was previously 8-0.  


Cincinnati travels to South Bend, Ind., Saturday to face No. 8 Notre Dame at 2 p.m. 


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