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Tag: 夜上海论坛EF Jasmine Nwajei carving out new, smaller role at Syracuse

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on February 20, 2018 at 10:53 pm Contact Andrew: [email protected] | @A_E_Graham When Jasmine Nwajei drives right, she knows exactly what move she’s going to employ.The redshirt senior puts her body between the defender and the ball, and as she prepares to launch, slightly bumps the defender with her left shoulder to create separation and potentially draw a foul.Nwajei’s signature move, coupled with intense defensive effort off the bench, have carved her niche in Syracuse’s (20-7, 8-6 Atlantic Coast) rotation this season. After leading the country in points per game at Wagner two years ago, Nwajei moved on to Syracuse for a chance to grow, and has learned how to contribute despite a reduced role.“Every time she comes in,” point guard Tiana Mangakahia said, “she changes the tempo of the game.”At Wagner, Nwajei was the star, scoring 30 or more points 15 times her junior season, her last with the Seahawks. She finished the 2015-16 season averaging 29.0 points per game, the top mark in all of women’s Division I basketball.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textNwajei went to Wagner to play for head coach Lisa Cermignano, she said. Early on in her career for WU, things went well for Nwajei, but she felt the pressure of being the top scorer.Scoring in bunches was what Nwajei needed to do at Wagner, she said, because the confidence in her teammates finishing plays wasn’t there. If her team needed a bucket, she would go get it. This season at Syracuse, that pressure hasn’t been there.In games and in practice, Nwajei said, she feels more comfortable giving up the ball, and trusts her teammates to finish plays more than ever.“Me passing to someone and them scoring is the same feeling I get when I score,” Nwajei said.Just passing the ball in the first place has been a tough transformation for Nwajei.Coming to Syracuse, she was expecting a similar role to what she had at Wagner, she said. As someone who views herself as a versatile offensive threat, she was frustrated to be relegated to the bench after being the go-to option at WU.Still, though, after a transfer and sitting out a year, Nwajei accepted that she would need to adapt.“It came with time, really,” Nwajei said. “Maturity, growth. Got to understand that this is your situation and you’ve got to make do.”Kevin Camelo | Digital Design EditorThat adjustment meant finding ways to maximize her production in significantly fewer minutes. In her final season at Wagner, Nwajei averaged 36.6 minutes a game. At Syracuse, she’s clocking in 9.1 a night with two games left in the season.In playing more than 27 fewer minutes each game, Nwajei needs to make her shots count, and she’s currently shooting 42.4 percent from the field, fourth best of any SU rotation player this season.Part of the way she’s been particularly efficient is using her drive-and-bump move. By using her body to protect the ball, she almost always gets the shot up. More importantly, by initiating contact while the defender’s feet are still moving, she puts herself in a situation with more positive than negative outcomes.“I’m going to get a foul or I’m going to get an and-1,” Nwajei said.Although the stat sheet may not reflect it as much, Nwajei is a tenacious defender, her teammates said. She brings athleticism and length to the 2-3 zone, and always plays with energy. Nwajei’s play style lends itself to clogging passing lanes, closing out shooters and keeping the ball in front of her. It hasn’t always translated to the stat sheet, but at Wake Forest on Feb. 11, it did.Nwajei played 15 minutes, scored eight points, swiped four steals and grabbed five rebounds, and according to her teammates, helped turn around a game SU was losing on the road.“She’s definitely great coming off the bench,” freshman Amaya Finklea-Guity said, “and really bringing us up and really bringing that energy, really bringing that fire that we need.”Coming to SU, Nwajei thought things would be similar to what they were at Wagner. They’re not. Still, she’s evolving her game, learning to make the most of the minutes she’s playing, but always remembering how she got to SU in the first place.“You have to adapt,” Nwajei said. “That’s just the way of life.” Commentslast_img read more

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