Brackett’s dip in production mirrors Syracuse’s struggles in conference play

first_img Published on October 16, 2017 at 11:31 pm Contact Michael: mmcclear@syr.edu | @MikeJMcCleary Sydney Brackett dominated her first game this season. She scored twice at Bucknell on Aug. 18, and then the sophomore became a dynamic part of Syracuse’s attack, racking up 20 shots in eight nonconference games.A goal at then-No. 8 Florida established her potential long-term impact. Then, conference play began.“You’re transitioning from teams that are more beatable,” Brackett said, “to teams that are less beatable.”Brackett has been limited to just eight shots and one goal in Syracuse’s (7-6-2, 2-4-1 Atlantic Coast) seven conference games. Her dip in production has mirrored the Orange’s struggles as the second-worst scoring offense in the ACC, averaging only .43 goals per game in conference.“It happens,” Brackett said. “You’re going to have different opportunities and different roles in every game.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBefore SU’s ACC-opening loss against Wake Forest, Brackett had accounted for roughly 28.5 percent of all of Syracuse’s offense, which was in eighth in the ACC. Including the loss to the Demon Deacons, Brackett has only tallied one goal for a Syracuse offense that now ranks 11th in the ACC.Against Pittsburgh on Oct. 5, Brackett returned to pre-conference-play form and fired five shots, scoring one in what ended up as the Orange’s first conference win. Despite the 2-0 finish in SU’s favor, Syracuse was outshot 15 to eight by a Pittsburgh offense that ranks last in the Atlantic Coast with just 11 total goals.But, it was Brackett’s game that set the Orange apart in what was, at the time, its only conference win. Outside of the Pitt game, Brackett has three shots in six games.“It’s going to take a moment of brilliance to break down an ACC team,” said Alana O’Neill, a senior defender.Through Syracuse’s nonconference schedule, if it shot 11 or more times in a game, it won. In the ACC, the Orange have only reached or passed that mark twice, both times in wins. Brackett, who, before the Wake Forest game accounted for nearly 20 percent of SU’s total shots, has only taken 1.1 shots per game during the conference slate.Brackett doesn’t shoulder all the blame, as SU’s averaging just 7.3 shots per game, almost half of the nonconference mark of 13. But, Brackett is one of the more effective offensive players on the team, O’Neill said, so Brackett’s decline has hurt the team as a whole.“The team relies a lot on Syd,” O’Neill said.Part of the solution to the offensive lull is to utilize Brackett’s speed, and O’Neill said she’s one of the fastest players on the team. The statistical decline in conference play is expected, players said, and teams in the ACC see an offensive lapse as they move on to a likely more competitive part of their schedules.But, for Syracuse, loss of production has resulted in more losses. With four losses and just two wins in conference play, the Orange is just one loss away from being eliminated from conference tournament contention.Syracuse’s bottom-tier offense has failed to provide aid to a defense that, excluding a 7-0 loss at then-No. 5 North Carolina, has held opponents to just about one goal per game.“You go into every game thinking you’re going to score,” head coach Phil Wheddon said.Yet, in five of SU’s seven ACC games, it hasn’t. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more