Published on January 31, 2013 at 12:32 am Contact David: email@example.com | @DBWilson2 Facebook Twitter Google+ As Syracuse walked out of the locker room to start the game, Carmen Tyson-Thomas walked more slowly behind the group, still dressed in sweat clothes.After pregame introductions, she walked to the bench like she normally does. But instead of choosing one of the first seats, prepared to enter, she walked to the end and plopped down in the last seat. She remained there for the entirety of the game, sidelined after having a tooth pulled.“She definitely brings the energy coming off the bench,” SU guard Brianna Butler said. “So that was something that we were missing.”Even with Tyson-Thomas sidelined, though, the Orange was able to cruise to a 65-34 victory Wednesday in the Carrier Dome thanks to elevated play elsewhere on the court.It meant a different sixth man. La’Shay Taft was the first player off of the bench and logged a season-high 16 minutes. It meant more minutes from Rachel Coffey. The guard played 18 minutes, 11 more than in the game against Villanova on Saturday. And it meant bigger contributions from the usual suspects. Butler chipped in a career-high 14 points, Sykes added another 14, four more than her average scoring output, and Elashier Hall grabbed a season-high 14 rebounds, including five offensive.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“We had a lot of contributions from a lot of different players tonight and that’s how we have to play,” Hillsman said. “We’ve got to try to play nine, 10 deep so we can press and play fast and get the tempo that we like to play.”Less than two minutes into the game, Butler headed to the bench. In came Taft, who had logged all of 89 minutes on the year before the game. With Pachis Roberts also sidelined, Taft was left as the leader in minutes for the non-rotation players.An up-and-down performance followed for the seldom-used guard. Almost immediately, Taft came away with a steal, but seconds later she turned the ball back over.That was how most of her night went, the good plays – the steal and three rebounds – interspersed with the bad – 0-for-3 shooting and three turnovers.“I thought that she was trying really, really hard to make the right plays and to do the right thing on the court,” Hillsman said. “And I give her a lot of credit for just stepping in and playing major, major minutes and she hadn’t done all season, pretty much.”Though Taft was the first player off of the bench, it was Coffey taking on the de facto, sixth-man role. She led all bench players with 18 minutes and led the team with four assists.But it was on the defensive end where she was most important. With two regulars out, Hillsman made sure everyone was comfortable playing multiple positions. That meant Sykes had to slide into Tyson-Thomas’ role on the press, and Coffey had a major effect defensively with a pair of steals.“When Coach has us scrimmage he always tells us to pressure the ball and (force) turnovers,” Sykes said. “ … From practice transferring to the game, me and Rachel and the whole team, we all want them to turn the ball over because the faster we get the ball back the more we can score.”Syracuse entered the second half with a nine-point lead. Less than 10 minutes later, that lead ballooned to 29 thanks largely to Coffey, Sykes and the SU press. From there, the Orange cruised.Butler heated up, knocking down three out of six 3-pointers in the second half. Hall kept grabbing rebounds the Orange usually expects from Tyson-Thomas. As time wound down, Hall was nearing her second double-double of the year. She had long ago reached the double-digit rebound plateau, but for seven minutes and counting she was stuck at seven points.With 2:23 remaining, Tiara Butler found Hall at the top of the key. The senior pulled up and drained it.As the ball hung in the air, Tyson-Thomas rose out of her seat in anticipation. When it fell through, she jumped and pointed at Hall with both hands.SU called timeout and Hall immediately found Tyson-Thomas at the end of the bench.“I was waiting for that,” Hall said to her teammate before sitting next to her at the end of the bench.Even injured, Tyson-Thomas made her presence known, her enthusiasm and upbeat attitude still affecting the team.“Her energy on the sideline made us play with more energy, play hard,” Butler said. “So it was good to have her even energized even though she wasn’t able to play.“It was almost as if she was playing with us.” Comments
On March 14, USC announced that the Shinnyo-en Buddhist order donated $6.6 million to further the study of Japan and its culture at the university.The Japanese Religions and Culture Center on campus will now be renamed the Shinso Ito Center. The name is meant to honor Her Holiness Shinso Ito, who is the current leader of the Shinnyo-en Buddhist order.Duncan Williams, chair of the School of Religion at the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and co-director of the Shinso Ito Center, elaborated on the generous gift.“The donation will be used primarily as an endowment that will allow the Center to support its programs in perpetuity,” Williams said. “The center is the host of a variety of research projects that range from the study of pre-modern Japanese religion to contemporary immigration policies in Japan, from the connection between Japanese religions and science to the history of Japanese America.”Based in Japan, the Shinnyo-en Buddhist order is an organization with nearly one million members worldwide. They have been involved in philanthropic efforts at American universities to help support Buddhist and Japanese studies.Shinnyo-en has also made gifts to Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley. Williams previously served as the director of UC Berkeley’s Center for Japanese Studies before coming to USC in 2011.“Shinnyo-en deeply appreciates the commitment of the USC Center for Japanese Religions and Culture for its deep and sensitive explorations of many aspects of Japanese culture through the study of international relations, society, the arts, media and religion,” said Rev. Minoru Shitara, director of the Shinnyo-en International Affairs Department. “Shinnyo-en views this support of the center as an expression of our common purpose with USC to educate people from diverse backgrounds to become effective agents for understanding, peace and harmony in the world.”The Buddhist term shinnyo “denotes both Buddhahood (spiritual awakening) and the nature of reality; en refers to a boundless garden or open space,” according to the Shinnyo-en website.The donation elicited a congratulatory statement from Caroline Kennedy, the current U.S. Ambassador to Japan.“Today’s historic gift of $6.6 million from the Shinnyo-en organization to the University of Southern California represents an important moment in the relationship between the United States and Japan. Promoting cross-cultural ties and mutual understanding between the U.S. and Japan is more important now than ever before,” Kennedy said in a statement.The Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture currently has a wide array of initiatives that focus on promoting the study of Japan both on and off campus.“Beyond research projects and the associated conferences and workshops, the center hosts nearly one event a week dealing with some aspect or another of Japanese studies,” Williams said. “Further, the center supports faculty and student research on Japan, whether it be to travel to Japan or present research at national and international conferences.”The donation advances USC’s $6 billion fundraising initiative, of which more than $3 billion has been raised so far.