first_imgVirginia Tech’s Regan Magarity caught an inbounds pass at the low block and took a dribble toward the middle of the lane. With one step, she tried squeezing around Syracuse center Briana Day before letting go of a one-handed floater.Day slid alongside Magarity, and when the ball left her hand, Day knocked it away. The block protected Syracuse’s 15-point third-quarter lead on Jan. 10, but the typical manner in which it happened reflected a key part of Day’s game that has come to be expected.“Yeah, it was (typical Briana),” twin sister and Syracuse center Bria Day said. “I don’t think it was anything like spectacular other than her playing defense and her doing what she knows she can do best.”Briana Day ranks second in the Atlantic Coast Conference with 2.2 blocks per game in just 22.4 minutes per game. She’s blocking shots on 7.75 percent of opponent’s possessions according to WBBState.com, ranking third in the ACC. The lanky 6-foot-4 center has been the anchor of Syracuse’s (14-4, 4-1 ACC) 2-3 zone and while she said she can still improve her rebounding, she’s turned away 39 shots this season. It’s a result of her athleticism, growing experience and lack of foul trouble, she said. Briana Day has put it all together, blocking a shot in seven straight games. AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“Anytime you have a post player that’s going for the basketball, you have a chance to get those kinds of records,” Orange head coach Quentin Hillsman said. “And she’s done a really good job of being aggressive and going after shots up in the air. Anytime a player’s doing that, you’re going to get a lot of shots blocked.”Since ACC play began, Briana Day blocked 12 shots in five games, four of which were 20-plus point blowouts. She’s averaging 2.4 blocks in conference play, behind only Notre Dame’s Brianna Turner, arguably the best player on the No. 3 team in the country.While Briana Day’s blocked shots are being compiled in mostly uncompetitive games, just a couple of possessions could make the difference as SU faces No. 3 Notre Dame, No. 17 Louisville and No. 16 Miami in three of its next four contests.“Just getting in position early and not fouling, honestly, just jumping straight up,” Briana Day said. “I think that’s why I’ve been so effective.”After Pittsburgh tied up Syracuse at 22 on Jan. 14, Briana Day altered two key shots as the Orange went on a 9-0 run. First, Yacine Diop tried pivoting around Briana Day, but there was nowhere to go, and she threw up a harmless shot around her. Twenty seconds later, Aysia Bugg caught a pass on the low block but before she could attempt the easy layup, Briana Day had already closed down the space. SU maintained its lead that was never threatened the rest of the game.In the past, Briana Day would be slow to get to the right spots. It caused her to pick up fouls and limited her effectiveness. But now, she’s caught up and is beating opponents to spots instead of the other way around.“Just being smarter, when to go and try and get a blocked shot or when I know I can’t,” Briana Day said. “I think it’s just being smart and decisive as to when I want to (block) it.”Briana Day’s only fouled out once this season and picked up at least four fouls twice in the last nine games. She’s timing shots better and going after balls that are free, rather than in opponents’ hands.And while Syracuse would like to see her perform like she has over the next four games, Briana Day’s influence on the defensive end has already been felt. “You’re not going to be a good shot-blocker if you’re not athletic,” Hillsman said. “So obviously she has long arms and she’s very athletic … It’s really paid dividends.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on January 19, 2016 at 9:03 pm Contact Paul: [email protected] | @pschwedslast_img