For the first time in program history, two women's basketball signees have been named McDonald's All-Americans. Brianna Butler of Brooklyn, and Brittney Sykes of Newark were among 24 players named to the team for the annual game in Chicago.
Butler and Sykes headline a five-player recruiting class, that is ranked #6 by ESPN Hoopgurlz. Butler is a five-star combo guard, who is ranked 13th overall by ESPN Hoopgurlz, and Sykes is also a combo guard, and ranked 30th overall by Hoopgurlz. The Orange were able to land three Top 100 players in this class.
The two superstar recruits are only the third and fourth All-Americans to play at SU, joining Erica Morrow (2007) and Juanita Ward (2005).
As a point of comparison, Baylor, Notre Dame, UConn, Duke, and Texas A&M were the only other schools to land multiple All-Americans this year. They are currently ranked 1, 2, 3, 5, and 15 this year. Syracuse is unranked and 15-10 (4-7). I would say this class puts us in elite company.
This is a watershed moment for women's basketball at Syracuse. After having only one winning season from 1990-2006, the Orange have been 113-74 since. The popularity and prestige of the men's program has never translated into recruting success for the women's team. A recent Post-Standard article discussed the attendance issues the women face, and noted that Syracuse hold the dubious honor of having the largest gap between men's and women's basketball attendance figures.
Iasia Hemmingway, the leading scorer this season for the Orange, is the only senior of note who will be departing. The Orange should return an experienced team for 2012-13, and when coupled with the best recruiting class in history, should be primed for a great season in the
Big East ACC.