Sean Farrell of SB Nation’s Syracuse site Troy Nunes is An Absolute Magician recapped the Orange’s 61-56 win over the Villanova Wildcats in the Big East quarterfinals yesterday, including a summary of a dominant performance by 6-foot-4 center Kayla Alexander.
Alexander scored 34 points on 15-23 shooting and had 15 rebounds. It seemed as if every possession when Alexander wasn’t receiving entry passes, she was collecting rebounds off missed jump shots and scoring easy put-backs. The 6-foot-4 center had nine offensive boards, many leading to second chance points…Hillsman said he didn’t know how to fully develop and use Alexander until this year. He said he deserved a C- grade in those aspects last year. But coaching alone wasn’t enough. Alexander had to work and improve on her own, Hillsman said.
“If she didn’t do her job, my job didn’t matter,” he said. “She makes me look good so I have to give her a lot of credit.”
Farrell does describe at length how much Villanova struggled to guard Alexander without 6-foot-2 center Laura Sweeney, but far more interesting from a WNBA draft perspective are Syracuse coach Quentin Hillsman’s comments about how he has done in his job of developing her.
Regardless of what grade anyone gives him, it does leave open the question of how much better she can become with additional coaching. With everyone being a senior we don’t talk much about upside in the WNBA draft, but Hillsman’s comments suggest there might be a bit of distance between where she is now and her ceiling.