Date & Time: Thursday, January 17 at 7 p.m. ET
Location: Peterson Events Center, Pittsburgh, Pa.
TV/Streaming: ACC Network Extra/WatchESPN
Pittsburgh Blog: Cardiac Hill
Rivalry: 40-19, Syracuse
Last Meeting: Syracuse 62, Pittsburgh 53
Digna Strautmane scored 16 points and grabbed six rebounds, while Miranda Drummond added 15 points and six rebounds. Tiana Mangakahia had 14 points, five assists and three rebounds in last year’s contest. Amaya Finklea-Guity only scored two points for the Orange, but still made an impact by leading the team with assists versus the Panthers.
Head Coaches: SU: Quentin Hillsman (13th year, 277-138); Pittsburgh: Lance White (1st year, 9-8)
Coach Bio: This is White’s first season as the head coach of the Panthers. Prior to becoming the head coach at Pitt, he served 15 years on the Florida State coaching staff under head coach Sue Semrau. White was named the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) National Assistant Coach of the Year for the 2016-17 season.
“Fear Me, I’ve Killed Hundreds of Timelords”: Cassidy Walsh is Pitt’s most consistent scorer, at 10.1 points per game. If any Panthers player breaks out in this one, the senior guard would be the most likely.
If Syracuse Wins: The Orange will remain undefeated in conference play (4-0) and improve to 15-2 on the season. SU would also be over .500 on the road for the first time this season, after losing its first two true road games versus Oregon and Minnesota. Syracuse won its next two road games, including a 75-73 overtime victory at Virginia Tech.
If a few teams ahead of the Orange were to lose and SU wins its next two games, Syracuse could be ranked in the top-10 for the first time in program history. With a victory, SU will be extend its winning-streak to nine games, with an opportunity to reach 10 straight versus Georgia Tech on Sunday.
If Syracuse Loses: It would be the team’s first “bad loss” of 2018-19. SU’s two losses on the road versus ranked teams, who were both undefeated at the time. Oregon was ranked #3 when they beat Syracuse and the Ducks are currently ranked #5 in the AP and Coaches Poll. Minnesota started the season 12-0 and was ranked #12, before losing its last three games in conference play. The Gophers are now 12-3 on the season and 0-3 in the BIG Ten, but they remain in the top-25 in both polls.
Syracuse would fall to 2-3 on the road and suffer its first loss in conference play. It would also be the team’s first loss to an unranked opponent and could affect its seeding in ACC and NCAA Tournaments down the road.
Prediction for the rest of the season: The Orange have 13 games remaining on its regular-season schedule, which include seven games at home and six games on the road. Syracuse could finish 11-2 in its remaining games. They have three games versus teams that are ranked higher than them in the current top-25 rankings.
Syracuse travels to #4 Louisville, and host #8 North Carolina State and #1 Notre Dame in the Carrier Dome. I think Syracuse can beat NC State at home, but the other two games will be a challenge for the Orange.
Overall record: 25-4