Headed into Sunday, the Syracuse Orange women's basketball team had already cemented this as the best season in school history. On Sunday, they went from historical to monumental.
The Orange controlled the tempo all day against the Tennessee Volunteers in the Elite Eight and, despite the Vol's best efforts, pulled away late to secure a 89-67 victory and advance to the 2016 Final Four. It is the first Final Four appearance for the Syracuse women's program and the culmination of ten seasons of work for coach Quentin Hillsman.
As she has all season and tournament long, Alexis Peterson led the way with 29 points and six assists. Brianna Butler had her best-shooting game of the tournament so far, making six-of-15 three-pointers and finishing with 18 points. Cornelia Fondren and Maggie Morrison provided solid contributions off the bench, scoring 13 and nine points respectively.
Coach Q was very clear when the Orange performed well in the ACC Tournament and won the first two games of the NCAA Tournament that while the wins were good, they were not the goal. He said the same thing when the Orange defeated the mighty South Carolina Gamecocks on Friday. His stated goal for years has been to win a National Championship. Sure, the UConn Huskies and two other teams loom in the Final Four, but Q has brought the Orange close enough for his dream to be a reality.
Congrats to the women's squad and we're looking forward to their trip to Indianapolis. G'ORANGE!