Published on March 7, 2017 at 12:10 am Contact Matt: email@example.com Gabby Cooper spoke with Brittney Sykes and Alexis Peterson the night before the biggest game of her life. The team was out for dinner and the next day it was set to match up with then-No. 7 Notre Dame in a game that would eventually shatter the attendance record.The discussion wasn’t about Cooper’s 10-percent shooting performance from 3 against North Carolina six days prior. It wasn’t about whether the freshman had the confidence to perform against a Top 10 team. Those were conversations of the past.Instead, the three discussed the antics that they would be pulling when they hit shots and run the score up on the Fighting Irish. Peterson and Sykes — the top two scorers in the Atlantic Coast Conference and the leaders of this year’s teams — told the freshman shooter that they needed her.“I felt like I had to step it up even more,” Cooper said, clapping her hands together as she recounted the interaction between the three teammates. “I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m going to come out here tomorrow and shoot all the 3s and make them.’ We were hype.”Some nights, Cooper thrives. Other nights, she doesn’t. Her role as 3-point specialist for No. 21 Syracuse (21-10, 11-5 Atlantic Coast) hasn’t changed — she’s started in every game she’s played in — but her performances have. She’s learned through 30 games that to succeed beyond the arc, she has to put bad performances behind her. It’s led to four of her five best scoring performances coming since the start of February.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textCooper said she wasn’t expecting as a big role as she ended up getting to start the year. Through her first seven games, she shot 72 3-pointers, notching 61 points, but she made just 23.6 percent of her shots from 3.SU head coach Quentin Hillsman said Cooper’s struggles were part of her growth process as a freshman. But then he gave her only 20 minutes of playing time in a Nov. 27 loss to DePaul, after Cooper had shot only 4-of-15 from 3 the night before. She rediscovered her stroke at the Florida Sunshine Classic, shooting 5-of-12 from 3 against Old Dominion for a season-high 19 points. But she remained largely inconsistent.The UNC game on Feb. 12 marked the second time in a month that she had shot 1-of-10 from downtown. After her already-shaky start to the season, Cooper’s role as 3-point specialist looked unstable.Then, “the game happened,” Cooper said. Cooper torched the Fighting Irish defense, scoring 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting, nearly leading the Orange to a momentous upset in front of a record 11,021 fans. When Cooper walked off the court, the UNC game was a blip in her distant memory. The debate regarding her ability to perform beyond the arc in a big game ended.The good games stick in your memory, and the bad games leave quickly, Cooper said.“When she’s struggling, she remains aggressive,” Hillsman said. “And that’s important for us. She adds a dimension to our game.”Last Friday against No. 13 Duke, the Blue Devils’ defense swallowed up Peterson and Sykes, holding the All-ACC duo to only 22 combined points. The ball thrust into Cooper’s hands most of the night and the freshman threw up 16 shots from 3, six of which fell for 18 points to pace the Orange. On her fourth 3-pointer of the game, Cooper became SU’s all-time freshman leader in 3-pointers made, with 68.It didn’t matter that Cooper had been on a two-game cold streak entering Friday. What mattered was Cooper found her stroke again.“It’s easy to be confident when you’re playing great, but how confident can you be when you’re struggling some?” Hillsman said. “I always thought she was confident no matter what, and that’s what we need her to do.”Cooper is now 878 minutes into her collegiate career. She said matter-of-factly she’s comfortable in her role and is used to being a mainstay on the court. She averages 29.3 minutes per game for SU and has taken 263 3-pointers on the season, averaging 8.8 points per game – the fourth-best mark on the team.Cooper didn’t expect to play nearly three-quarters of games and make more 3-pointers than any freshman in the ACC. But she’s not complaining, because the same freshman who once carried doubt is poised to help lead the Orange into the NCAA tournament.She’ll be stationed where she always is. Behind the thickly painted semi-circle that sits 20-feet-9-inches from the hoop. Behind the line that has been both make and break for Cooper dozens of times in her first season at SU. Behind the line that has been her best friend, and worst enemy, since November. It’s the one place Cooper has come to know best and the only place from which she sees herself fit.“That’s my spot,” Cooper said. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+
STARTING QB—Dennis Dixon, who has played well in the preseason, was named starting quarterback for the opener against the Atlanta Falcons. PITTSBURGH (AP)—Ben Roethlisberger is no longer a Pittsburgh Steelers captain. Dennis Dixon is the new Steelers quarterback, at least for the time being.Roethlisberger, suspended by the NFL for the first four games of the season, was not chosen a Steelers captain in a vote by his teammates. He has been selected the previous two seasons. Wide receiver Hines Ward and tight end Heath Miller will be the offensive captains. In a different vote regarding the quarterbacks, Dixon got the one that counted—by coach Mike Tomlin. Dixon was selected over longtime backup Charlie Batch to start Sunday’s opener against Atlanta, although he has started only one NFL game.Dixon is an excellent runner and has a good throwing arm, but Batch is much more experienced and has an intimate knowledge of the playbook.“It’s an honor, obviously. The ultimate for a quarterback is to be the starter,” Dixon said Monday. “It’s every quarterback’s dream to be a starter in the National Football League. My number is called now, and I’m going to have fun with it. I’m happy, but there’s a lot of work to be done.”Byron Leftwich, reacquired by Pittsburgh during an April trade, was expected to start while Roethlisberger was out, but sprained his left medial collateral ligament last Thursday against Carolina. Dixon, a third-year player from Oregon, threw for a touchdown and ran for another during an overtime loss in Baltimore last season when Roethlisberger was out with a concussion.“Dennis has had a very productive preseason and training camp,” Tomlin said. “He went into the training camp as a young guy, second in the pecking order behind Byron Leftwich. He did a nice job and made it extremely competitive. He waged a battle and got some first-team reps in some preseason games. Largely, we’ve been very impressed with how he’s handled himself in game situations.”Dixon got much of the work with the starters Aug. 29 in Denver, hurting his chances of beating out Leftwich by throwing two interceptions during a 34-17 loss.Batch has played with Pittsburgh since 2002, but has thrown only two passes since 2007 while getting injured each of the last two seasons. He was the No. 4 QB during training camp, and his lack of time with the starters during camp and in the exhibition games hurt his chances of starting.“There was a specific pecking order in camp, and Charlie’s durability or lack of durability added into it,” Tomlin said. “This is a guy who’s been on IR (injured reserve) a little bit the past couple years, but he also requires very few snaps to be prepared to play football at an acceptable level.”Ward, a Steelers captain for the sixth time, wouldn’t say if off-field issues influenced the decision to not pick Roethlisberger.“The captain’s not just what you do on the field, it’s what you do off the field,” Ward said. “Heath lives here (at the training facility), he’s constantly here during coaching sessions and offseason workouts. It’s well deserved.”Roethlisberger missed part of the team’s offseason workouts following allegations he sexually assaulted a Georgia college student in March, although he wasn’t charged.Until his suspension ends after the Steelers’ Oct. 3 game against Baltimore, Roethlisberger cannot attend practice or visit the Steelers’ offices and is not permitted to talk to coaches or fellow players about team-related matters. He can’t play again until Oct. 17 against Cleveland.Ward doesn’t think the Steelers intentionally slighted Roethlisberger by not choosing him a captain.“Ben’s our quarterback,” Ward said. “That in itself, he’s the leader of this team.”Linebacker James Farrior will be the lone defensive captain, the seventh time he was selected. James Harrison was not selected after being chosen last year.The special teams captain is linebacker Keyaron Fox, succeeding kicker Jeff Reed.
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The charges stem from a shooting that occurred last Friday in which a man with a rifle, who is believed to be Crew, began shooting at a group of people in the parking lot of a venue called Rebar.San Antonio police Chief William McManus says the man was part of a group that had been turned away from the bar due to being “inebriated.”McManus explains that the man asked: “Don’t you know who I am? I’m a UFC fighter from California.”He then obtained a gun from his car.Crew was arrested without incident and is in being held without bond at the Miami-Dade County Jail, according to jail records. Federal agents in Florida have arrested a man who is charged in a shooting that injury eight people outside a Texas bar last week.U.S. Marshals arrested 37-year-old Jenelius Crew on Thursday morning as he left a Miami hotel, San Antonio police announced in a statement.He faces eight counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, according to police.