"There's some good news and some bad news. What do you want to hear first?"
It's a saying I heard every now and then as a kid and one that aptly describes the state of Syracuse women's basketball on Tuesday.
First, the Orange learned that junior guard Brittney Sykes suffered her second season-ending injury in less than a year, after re-injuring her right ACL on Sunday.
Then, the Orange moved up one spot to No. 21 in the latest version of the USA Today Coaches Poll. It's the highest ranking in the Coaches Poll for Syracuse at any point this season.
The Orange (10-4) remained at No. 21 in the AP Poll after going 1-1 over the past week. Syracuse's win was a one-sided 74-43 contest against Central Connecticut State in the Carrier Dome. The sole loss, however, came to ACC giant Notre Dame. The Orange only lost by nine, despite an early three-point shooting display from the Irish and the absence of Sykes for the entire second half.
To some extent, the final score (and Syracuse's ranking) is a reflection of the team's ability to play without Sykes. She didn't play in the first 11 games of the season, with the Orange going 8-3 in that span.
Syracuse even maintained consistent scoring levels from last season. Right now, four players not named Sykes are averaging at least ten points a game.
"When we play a team, they don't know who to guard," Cornelia Fondren said back in December. "It might be one person's night or another person's night. It might be everybody's night. You never know with us."
The Orange, throughout the season, daydreamed about the possibilities when Sykes returned for conference play.
Now, they'll have to move on knowing that she won't.