Just 30 seconds into No. 3 Syracuse’s (7-1, 1-1 Atlantic Coast) first overtime of the season, Laura Hurff curled into the shooting arc and fired low towards goal. The ball headed just wide right and Elaine Carey was inches away from deflecting it on goal. But she didn’t and the shot went wide.“That needs to be a goal,”center back Lies Lagerweij said. “You don’t get a lot of chances in overtime. You need to value possession in overtime. You know if you hand the ball back it’s probably gonna be a shot on goal for them.”Less than a minute later, Nicola Pluta scored for No. 16 Wake Forest (4-3, 2-0) to end the sudden-death overtime and give the Demon Deacons a 2-1 victory on Saturday afternoon at J.S. Coyne Stadium. Syracuse had scored at least two goals in every game it played this season. The Orange was averaging 3.4 goals a game before Saturday. But its one goal output coupled with allowing its first two goals handed SU its first loss. WFU also limited SU chances to just 11 shots, the second-lowest on the season only to the season-opener against California (nine). With just more than 21 minutes left in the second half, the Orange converted for the only time on Saturday. Jennifer Bleakney received a pass on the right wing and pivoted past her defender. A few touches brought Bleakney near the endline and she crossed from there, finding Carey for a first-time finish right in front of the net.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textLate in the second half, the Orange saw one more shot come within inches of a goal. Roos Weers, who scored two goals on penalty corners in Albany on Sunday, got her chance to add to that tally. The Orange went with misdirection on its corner, inserting as if to set up Lagerweij for a shot, who then fed the ball to Weers positioned to her right. Weers wound up and let go a shot that skidded across the ground, but the left corner remained empty as Wake Forest goalkeeper Isla Bint watched it go wide.Carolin Hoffmann got one more chance late in regulation in front of Bint, but the Wake keeper disposed of the ball and the game was destined for a sudden-death finish in overtime. “If we finished, then we probably could’ve won,” goalkeeper Borg van der Velde said.With just seven players (including the keeper) on each side during overtime, versus 11 each in regulation, the Orange had to sprint back after its scoring attempt went just wide. “You got to do your job,” Syracuse head coach Ange Bradley said. “It’s called hard running.”Lagerweij had moved to a forward position for the extra period, meaning one of SU’s best defenders had a long way to go after Syracuse almost ended the game to keep Wake Forest from ending it. WF didn’t beat the Orange down the field, but the extra space was enough to concede the game-ending chance.In its first home conference game, Syracuse couldn’t keep its high-powered attack going on the same day that its defense finally conceded.“All the ACC teams are so good,” Lagerweij said. “Every ACC team can beat each other, I really believe that. It’s about who wants it most and who’s most effective.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on September 16, 2017 at 3:17 pm Contact Billy: [email protected] | @Wheyen3
Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error On paper the Clippers are one of the best four teams in the NBA.Now it’s time for them to now prove it.Anything less is unacceptable.Which brings us back to Paul.“No moral victories,” he said, sternly.“Ever.” He’s absolutely right.“Ever.” Paul reiterated.And just to make sure, he added: “You can take that for what it is.”I take it to mean it’s put up or shut up time for a franchise that’s assembled all the necessary pieces to plow through the Western Conference gauntlet.And I agree.I take it to mean it’s no longer fashionable to just bask in the Clippers regular-season transformation in which the 25-win seasons of the past have been replaced by back-to-back Pacific Division titles and three straight playoff berths.“It’s great for our franchise,” Griffin said of the regular-season success. “But we have bigger goals and bigger aspirations.”They should.And failure to make good on those objectives is unacceptable.The Clippers have what they’ve always wanted: A championship caliber team and coach, the Los Angeles stage all to themselves and a window of opportunity so wide open you can see all the way to an epic run of success.And with the Lakers no longer around to divert attention, all of our focus is on the Clippers.See poll: Lakers fans – what would it take for you to respect the Clippers?Only now, our level of expectation is through the roof.And it’s time to hold the Clippers accountable.“That’s what you should have, really, “Rivers agreed. “Because if you don’t, and you get to this, what are you doing?”I don’t want to hear about the Western Conference being too tough and the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City presenting too daunting a challenge.The Clippers are adequately built to beat both of those teams.They just have to do it.The Lakers made no excuses upon beating the Scottie Pippen-led Portland Trailblazers, the Time Duncan-led Spurs and the beautifully constructed Sacramento Kings on their way to three straight NBA titles from 2000 to 2002.Those were tough, talented, championship worthy opponents but the Lakers found a way to overcome all of them.There are no longer any valid reasons why the Clippers can’t conquer a similar challenge now.“Whatever it takes you to do it, you do it,” Rivers said, laying down a gauntlet.Three years ago injuries and inexperience were worthy explanations for the loss to the Spurs in round two.Last year, an unfortunate ankle sprain suffered by Griffin – coupled with a difficult matchup against the Memphis Grizzlies – was the downfall in Round One.This year the Clippers leap into the playoffs with healthy stars in Griffin and Paul, the best defensive and rebounding center in Jordan and a deep, talented supporting cast.And by adding Rivers, who won a championship with the Boston Celtics and barely missed a second in an epic seven-game series against the Lakers, they have an innovative, respected, playoff-tested leader on the sideline. No more excuses.It’s time to get it done.See Clippers-Warriors playoff preview | Follow the Inside the Clippers blog Chris Paul didn’t blink upon hearing the question. As far as the challenge that came with it, he’s cool with that too.One of the centerpieces of a dramatic Clippers turnaround that took them from NBA embarrassment to perennial playoff contender, Paul knows the time has arrived in which just making the postseason is no longer enough.Nor is getting through the first round, which the Clippers did his first year in Los Angeles in 2012.Been there done that, as the saying goes. And with Paul teaming with fellow MVP candidate Blake Griffin alongside rebounding and defensive hulk DeAndre Jordan and Sixth Man of the Year contender Jamal Crawford and one of the deepest rosters in the NBA while being coached by Doc Rivers, arguably the best coach in the league, there are no longer any excuses.Because when you think about it, who has all that working for them?No, the time has come for the Clippers to take a mighty step forward as a franchise.And that means mounting a long playoff run, beginning with the disposal the Golden State Warriors in Round One, and taking down the mighty Oklahoma City Thunder should they meet in Round Two.It’s Western Conference Finals or bust, and that’s probably taking it a bit too easy on them.