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2016 Women's Tournament: Coach Q & Players Talk Army Matchup

Yesterday afternoon, both Syracuse and Army took turns at the microphone previewing their matchup today. Here's what they had to say.

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange and Army Black Knights took turns yesterday talking about their first round match-up to be played this afternoon. The Orange talked about the home-field advantage that the Dome provides as well as how to control the Black Knight's star Kelsey Minato. Army discussed playing against Syracuse's staunch 2-3 zone defensive looks, full-court and half-court.

Syracuse players Brianna Butler, Briana Day, and Alexis Peterson were up for questions first.

Peterson was asked about how the team was preparing for Minato and the entire Black Knight's team:

"We know she's a great player, we know that she's done some great things in her career, they've had a great season so far, so we just wanna focus on playing aggressively and playing team defense and doing what we need to do to kinda limit her and kinda hold them back some."

Butler was asked if there was any truth to there being a one-on-one match up with Minato because they're both such great shooters, but she quelled that myth:

"It should just be a fun game. It's not really about me or it's not really about just her, it's really about Syracuse against Army. Both teams are gonna come out here and compete and we're really looking forward to playing on our home court."

After answering some more questions about preparing for the game, it became quite clear that the Orange have all of the respect in the world for any of their competition in the 64-team field. They talked about how difficult it is for other teams to play in such a spacious environment as the Dome and just how unique the venue is.

To wrap up the player's portion of the press conference, Butler answered one final question about the team's game plan, and had this to say:

"We go into each game expecting to play our game plan. Our pressure has been making people have a lot of discomfort and not playing the way we usually do, so we're just gonna do what we do well and that's pressure and make things uncomfortable for Army and bringing the ball up and try to break our press."

After the players were let go, Quentin Hillsman discussed the match-up in more detail. One of the best sound bytes of the day was when he answered a question about his team's adversity:

"We've been on upset alert ever since the bracket popped up on the screen. We just fight through situations. There's always something that's gonna come up and make it seem like what you're doing is not great or what you've done is not recognized, and we can't play into that. I know someone asked me the other day are we overlooking Army - there's no way we could, 'cause you guys won't let us. We haven't and we would never do that. We respect all opponents. We've had some games were a lot of people thought that we shouldn't have won, and we did it pretty handily too. We don't come into this game worrying about any kind of adversity or anything like that. That's our program - we live in adversity we live in always being the underdog, so for us it's about coming out and doing what we do because we were beat 30 seconds after the bracket came out. We're just excited to be home and excited to compete and you don't have to worry about us overlooking anybody because we don't do that anyway and the media won't let us, so we're not."

When asked to clarify what he meant by being on "upset alert":

"...For us, we just play like the underdog at all times because at some point someone's gonna make us the underdog and we just compete, our kids play hard and are humble and do everything that they can on a high level..."

Coach Q made it a point to talk about just how much respect he has for Army head coach Dave Magarity and what he's done with the program there. He said the main thing is to get his players to continue to play to their strengths rather than worrying so much about potential player match-ups.

He tied up his presser with one final question about Minato versus Butler:

"It's gonna sound weird, but it was really fun prepping for this game. I've watched over seven tapes now and she's a phenomenal scorer. She makes some difficult shots, she makes contested shots, gets in the paint and shoots floaters, she ball fakes she ball fakes and shoots. That takes tremendous strength. She's a phenomenal shooter and I think the players around her are really good because they can catch and shoot, get open shots because we have to spend so much time prepping for her and making sure you can keep her under control. It's going to be a very good game. Brianna Butler is one of the best shooters I've ever coached and she makes shots and she makes them in bunches and she's one of those kids who are the first to go in, but you never know. It's gonna be an exciting game and I don't think it's going to be an individual match-up because y'all know we're gonna play zone, so Brianna Butler's not gonna be guarding her - I don't know if she's gonna be guarding Brianna Butler or not, but we're gonna play the way we play and hopefully, we have enough things in place that we're gonna slow her (Kelsey) down."

Coach Magarity and his players, in the final press conference of the day, talked about how much they respect Syracuse as a team. They talked about the Orange's defense and playing in the Dome and, thus what they have to bring to the floor in order to overcome those challenges.

Magarity laughed when one of the members of the media said that his counterpart had said that Syracuse was the underdog. He said that seeding-wise, his team is the "underdog," but that they're just as good as the Orange. 29 wins is nothing to sneeze at, and they earned it for a reason.

His players, guard Kelsey Minato and center Aimee Oertner talked about how they believe they can keep pace with their opponent throughout the entire game:

"This time, it's more of a business trip (than in 2014 when Army last made the Tournament) for us. We know we can hang, we know we can play against Syracuse and be with them and beat them, so we're going into that with a lot more confidence than we did two years ago." - Oertener

Minato said that in order to beat their zone, the Black Knights have to be more aggressive on offense and not be afraid to take an open shot when the opportunity presents itself.

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Syracuse faces Army today at 2:30 pm E.T. in the Dome. If you're afraid of missing the men's game, it will be playing on the concourse TVs for your viewing pleasure.

Go Orange!