Gather round, y'all. It's tournament time.
The Syracuse women's basketball team is playing in the ACC Tournament at 11 a.m. on Thursday morning on the ACC Network. And if all goes according to plan, the Orange will also make the NCAA Tournament. So maybe you're interested in seeing how the Orange does in postseason play, but don't know a lot about the team. Perhaps, you've checked out a game recap sometime along the season, but can't remember very much. Either way, I got you covered.
So without further ado, here's a refresher course on the Syracuse women's basketball team, what to know and what to look for in the upcoming tournaments.
- Brittney Sykes (#20) – The sophomore guard from Newark, N.J. leads Syracuse in scoring with 17.1 points per game. On Tuesday, Sykes earned All-ACC second team honors. She's much faster and much stronger than most of the players on the court, so keep an eye out for her at all times. Although Sykes is a guard, I would compare her to Jerami Grant from the men's side. Both run the floor really well, have off-the-chart athleticism and make some highlight-reel plays.
- Brianna Butler (#13) – Consider her the Trevor Cooney of the team, but without half a dozen different names and a neck beard. After an inconsistent freshman season, Butler has blossomed this year from behind-the-arc. At one point, she led the entire nation in three-pointers made. She's second on the team in scoring with an even 15 points per game. Butler, like Sykes, was a McDonald's All-American in high school.
- Rachel Coffey (#3) – Coffey is one of four seniors trying to give Syracuse its first NCAA win in franchise history. She's not flashy, but plays a steady point guard game. Her biggest offensive weapon is her three-point shot, especially when left alone at the top of the key. She was the best in the ACC in assist to turnover margin.
What to Watch For
- Turnovers – If Syracuse wins, it's likely because the team won the turnover battle. The Orange plays a mix of aggressive full court press and traditional 2-3 zone, both of which force several turnovers. This year, the NCAA added the ten second rule, requiring teams to get the ball past midcourt in a timely manner. It made Syracuse's press even more effective. The Orange led the ACC in turnover margin.
- Fast Break Points – After a turnover, there's a good chance Syracuse will convert on a fast break layup. Butler leads the team in steals and is an effective playmaker in transition. Often, she plays the role of Andy Rautins, using her length to deflect passes at the top of the zone and then find a player streaking to the hoop. Sykes is often on the receiving end and uses her strong driving skills to get to the basket.
- Quentin Hillsman's Expressions – Sometimes, I wish there were GIFs for women's basketball coaches, too. Hillsman wears his emotions on his sleeves, particularly after his team doesn't get a favorable call. The SU bench is located right next to the press table and it seems like he'll occasionally look to the group of reporters as if to ask "Did you see that too?"
- Coach Q's Fashion – As renowned philosopher ZZ Top once speculated, "Every girl is crazy about a sharp dressed man." Hillsman, now in his eighth year as head coach, has a passion for fashion. And no detail is too small. Even many of his cuff links have the word "Quentin" printed on them. He's even added a pair of designer glasses to his press conference style this year. Coach Q has a nice rotation of clothes suits and vests, but he isn't afraid to take a few risks either.