Sykes' near triple-double leads University
Never has a loss resonated within Brittney Sykes as the one University suffered last Thursday at Montclair.
The scintillating senior point guard, who is heading to Syracuse, was at the root of a blazing start, pumping in eight points to fuel University during a 21-2 burst that staked the Newark squad to a 25-7 advantage against Montclair, the No. 11 team in The MSG Varsity New Jersey Top 15.
However, despite being afforded the chance to seize control of the contest through her confident drives to the hoop, by far her strongest offensive attribute, Sykes eased off the gas. What subsequently unfolded was a surging comeback mounted by Montclair that inevitably led to the Mounties rallying for a 62-51 triumph.
To say the setback didn’t sit well with Sykes would be an understatement. Perhaps that's why the superstar took matters into her own hands to make amends on Wednesday.
Sykes recorded 25 points, nine rebounds, nine assists and six steals to guide University to a 55-41 victory over Central in the Newark Public Schools Tournament semifinals at Essex County College.
The Lady Phoenix jumped out to a 17-2 lead in the first quarter and eventually constructed a healthy lead that reached as high as 25 points in the second.
Nikayah Kersey contributed 14 points for University, which led 37-18 at the half and never looked back. The team also held an 18-0 advantage in steals.
"It was a good effort," Sykes said of the contest, which was live-streamed on MSGVarsity.com. "We knew we'd have to play hard-nosed defense for four quarters. I don't know what it is about having (the MSG Varsity television cameras) around, but I try to play hard 24-7. I told my teammates, 'don't let the cameras bother you and to have some fun.'"
Zhane Robinson paced Central by pouring in 14 points and grabbing seven rebounds, but couldn't help her team overcome a 11-for-31 effort from the floor and 26 turnovers.
Gregg Lerner contributed to this report.
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