Tiana Mangakahia put on a grim face and took a breath before she was inbounded the ball following a Towson 3-point make. It wasn’t out of defeat. After all, Syracuse led by three points with just under halfway to go in the first quarter. But it appeared something struck her, as if SU wasn’t supposed to be there, that close.“We didn’t schedule any morale-boosting games,” Syracuse head coach Quentin Hillsman said. “I thought it would be a little more of a dogfight.”No. 12 Syracuse (7-2) dominated Towson (3-4), 98-55, in a battle between two teams on the opposite ends of the country’s powers. In a game filled with offensive rebounds and second-chances, Syracuse dominated both categories and cruised to its first performance in a year that five players contributed double-digit scoring numbers.Prior to the season, Hillsman said that his team can go 29-0. No, he corrected, 35-0. Can’t forget the tournament. There would be challenges along the way: First, the Orange got a then-No. 3 ranked Oregon following a cross-country road trip just a few days after the season opener. Then, a three-game stint in the Cancun Challenge capped by a meeting with then-No. 16 DePaul. They’d sandwich that between two matchups with top-25 teams. And for the most part, Syracuse was up for whatever came its way: a two-point loss to the Ducks was followed by a five-game win streak before a loss to then-No. 20 Minnesota.But this wasn’t one of them. Towson ranks 253rd in Rating Percentage Index. Syracuse ranks 8th. SU forward Miranda Drummond said the Tigers were predictable, too. In the game before against the Golden Gophers, Syracuse was crushed inside. Many times, lost rebounds led to easy fouls and trips to the line, Hillsman said. But Drummond said that Towson played a similar way, and the Orange weren’t looking for a repeat.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“We knew that the previous game we didn’t show the best effort,” Syracuse forward Digna Strautmane said. “It was a tough loss. We were not mentally ready.”Following the early-game back-and-forth, Syracuse gained full control. Though at times it seemed as if their shots wouldn’t fall, the opportunities were seemingly endless. On one possession late in the first quarter, SU racked up four offensive rebounds. Later in the game, Syracuse got a bucket following three-straight. When the rebounds fell the way of the Tigers — by the end of the game Syracuse led the rebounding battle by just one — turnovers provided SU added opportunities. The Orange forced 30, the most it has against any team this season.Much of the game was just going through the motions for the Orange. At the end of the first and third quarters, Syracuse found Gabrielle Cooper on the elbow for a 3-pointer. Both times, she drained it and walked forward as the seconds ticked off the clock, slapping the hand of her nearest teammate and slowly entering the SU huddle. At the end of the first half, Drummond was fouled on a 3-point attempt and was awarded three shots at the line. Dealing with lower back pain from earlier in the season, Drummond hasn’t participated in one-on-one drills in practice lately. “That was painful,” she laughed of the Towson defender landing on top of her. It hurts most when she lands on her stomach, she said, and that’s what she did. But when she stepped to the line, she drained all three.Roaring plays in the first half like a Cooper 3-pointer, plus the foul sent the SU bench into a frenzy as Cooper slapped three fingers to the back of her head. But the game settled down and the Orange offered a level of nonchalance. Strautmane smiled as a ball slipped from her hands on the Towson baseline. Even as Towson’s Janeen Camp tried to take advantage of the energy, screaming “and-1” after a foul under the hoop. She clanked the shot. Her ensuing free throw hardly grazed the side-rim.Towson had overthrows, mishandles and deflections. Many left players with discouraged looks. This time, defeat loomed, and the misfires put the game further out of reach. When Syracuse made a mistake, seemingly nothing changed.“We kind of settled down a little bit,” Hillsman said. As Syracuse continued its dominance, Mangakahia dropped a Towson defender with a behind-the-back move and fired a no-look pass underneath to Kiara Lewis who finished easily. The possession prior she drained a 3-pointer that rolled around every part of the rim before it fell, and she backpedaled casually into her defensive position.Hillsman bent low to the floor as Towson called a timeout. He clapped slow yet powerfully as he waddled into a scrum of SU players and offered low-fives. His team doesn’t have a shot at an undefeated record. They can’t go the season without their fair share of mistakes. But Sunday, the “balance” he’d preached all season was there, and the doubt wasn’t.“Getting offensive rebounds, quick rebounds and outlets help us push the ball and get quick open threes,” Mangakahia said. “It showed in the game how aggressive we were on the boards and how much we practiced that in the two days that we had.” Published on December 2, 2018 at 3:53 pm Contact Michael: email@example.com | @MikeJMcCleary Facebook Twitter Google+ Comments
The Early Stimulation Programme (ESP) has been improving its operations, through a Technical Co-operation Project, to better assist children with special needs.The six-month initiative, which began in September 2012, and currently funded bythe Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), seeks to provide training for child development officersin five areas of child development – self help skills, cognitive, social, emotional, and language development.Director of the ESP, Antonica Gunter-Gayle, informs JIS News that intervention of the programme has been extended to the Kingston 12 and 13 areas, so more children with special needs are being given attention.“We are now seeing an additional 52 children with special needs in these areas, and instead of monthly visits, we have officers conducting visits on a weekly basis, to stimulate children with special needs,” she says.Mrs. Gunter-Gayle notes that there are two components of the ESP, the home-based and centre-based programmes. Both programmes caterto children from birth to six years with challenges, such as cerebral palsy, autism, mental retardation; and children with various forms of mental and physical disabilities, and multiple disabilities.She explains that the centre-based programme allows children with special needs to be schooled and given proper intervention in a structured environment.For the home-based programme, children are visited by child development officers at their homes and schools, who are trained in special early childhood care and development.“The officers take the intervention into the homes of these children, or into the communities. We provide additional support, because some of the children are already attending schools, which does not require us to take them out of their learning environment, so the intervention officers try to meet them where they are,” Mrs. Gunter-Gayle points out.She reveals that the home-based programme currently has a population of 1,212 children, and the centre-based has 112 children enrolled, which means that more children with special needs are being given the opportunity of reaching their fullest potential.The Director mentions that the strengthening of the programme is a step towards a brighter future for parents of children with special needs, and importantly, children with disabilities.“The children are benefitting greatly from this initiative, because there is a need for early intervention, and the additional training being offered to social development officers, allows for greater intervention. We have also extended our hours of intervention, and are offering extra physical therapy to children who are severely disabled, especially those with cerebral palsy,” she says.Parents of children with special needs are also being introduced to different coping mechanisms and strategies, to better assist disabled children, because they play a vital role in their overall development.She adds that these children are a part of the society, and should be given equal opportunities, especially ‘the right to an education’.“Gone are the days when children with disabilities are ignored, and treated as outcasts. We are now seeing disabled persons serving in capacities such as cashiers, telephone operators, computer technicians, and successful entrepreneurs. If we continue to stimulate them from birth, they will have the opportunity to excel in all their endeavours, and contribute to nation building,” Mrs. Gunter-Gayle said.She is appealing to organisations and individuals that can assist the ESP, whether in cash or kind, to call 922-5585, or visit their office at 95 Hanover Street, in downtown Kingston. More than 30,000 children have benefited from the ESP since its inception.