Usually when you hear about Syracuse Orange basketball and zone defense, they're a package deal. When the women's squad plays the Albany Great Danes in the second round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament tomorrow, however, they'll be going head-to-head.
Albany is known for playing a zone defense and rarely comes out of it. So Qeuntin Hillsman is probably going to have to come up with an intricate gameplan in order to beat it.
Actually, he's thinking something a bit more brute force.
"We know that Albany's going to be in a zone. They've got to hope that we miss shots. If they're going to play a...zone we're going to shoot 50 threes tomorrow. Fifty. We're going to get them up. If they're going sit in a zone, we're going to shoot the ball. That's what we do. If they're going to give us open shots, we've got to take them. If we go 4-for-50, we'll probably lose. But if we go like 14 or 16, different game, right?''
If you think that's hyperbole, it's not. Syracuse shot 48 three-pointers in one game this season and 49 in another. Brianna Butler alone often throws 10-15 three-point attempts up every game. And as far as Quentin Hillsman is concerned, she's not shooting enough.
"My concern is, going back and watch the tape, is the seven shots she passed up. She should have been 1-for-18, really. She passed up seven wide-open looks. She's got to face the basket and be aggressive. I never have a concern about Brianna Butler missing shots. I have a concern when she starts passing up shots. We want her to keep shooting.''
For her part, Great Danes coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson doesn't seem phased by the strategy.
"They shoot that up. I'm going to find a positive out of that, too. That's what our league does. Everybody shoots the three. We are the only team in the conference that does not live and die by the three. And so we're used to guarding phenomenal sets to get threes off. We're obviously not afraid of that. We go against it every day, every single game we play in our conference.''