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Ladies Love Cool Q

He may have found himself lowly-ranked in the 'Cusian of the Year tournament going on right now but Quentin Hillsman is making a helluva case for himself for nest year's seedings.

Usually by now, the SU women's team is an afterthought and the losses begin piling up as Big East teams come to town. The Orange started strong in non-conference play this year but doubts remained as to whether or not the team could hang with their Big East brethren , um, sisthren(?). While it hasn't been perfect (loss at Pitt), these women are proving that this season is no fluke. Their
67-60 win at South Florida on Sunday is proof of that.

Chandrea Jones (19 points) led four players in double figures, while Nicole Michael (13 points, 15 rebounds) and Fantasia Goodwin (10 points, 12 rebounds) registered double-doubles.

The Orange are now 14-2, officially the best start in program history. Their start has even caught the eye of the
New York Times who ran a great piece about the team (via the AP) yesterday. In it, Hillsman credits Jim Boeheim as being a mentor for him and for the program, which has adopted Boeheim's 2-3 zone on defense:

"We’re running the 2-3 zone every minute of the game," Hillsman said. "Coach Boeheim’s been great. He’s been a mentor, everything I could ask him to be. He’s been to practice. He stands in the door, folds his arms and watches for about 15 or 20 minutes. Then he’s gone. But I’m sure that it has to make him proud for us to be turning the corner."

The success of the women's team has led to some changes in their status on campus as well. The team has been playing many home games in the Dome instead of Manley Field House. The setting, which will also be the court of choice when mighty UConn comes to town on Tuesday. A choice that
doesn't seem to be high on UConn coach Geno Auriemma's list (via Three Idiots):

"Playing in the Carrier Dome is about the dumbest thing I've ever seen."

As much of a cock as that statement makes Auriemma sound like, it's a valid point. On paper the idea makes sense. The SU team is the best its ever been. UConn one of the best teams around. The Huskies always draw big crowds when they come to SU.

The only problem is, its still a little too early for this bandwagon to fill up. Admit it, SU fans are fickle. We barely filled up the Dome to watch the best lacrosse program in the country for years. Despite their success, the basketball team have averaged a meek 661 fans in their Carrier Dome games this year. The Orange did did draw 3,799 when they last played UConn in the Dome so 5,000 isn't out of the question. But wouldn't you get much more of a field advantage by 5,000 (capacity) in tightly-packed Manley rather than 5,000 spread out across the cavernous Dome?

I'm hoping the Orange break some attendance records for this one and prove that they need to be playing in the Dome but my guess is that we're running before we can walk here. Kind of a theme with SU Athletics lately, isn't it? Regardless, looking forward to writing about the team's win over UConn in a few days and hearing Geno say how much he hates the idea of playing in the Dome...but for a completely different reason.

(Update: SU is pulling out all the stops to fill the Dome. Well, "all the stops" might be a little much...)