Date & Time: Thursday, Jan. 31 at 7 p.m. ET
Location: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, N.Y.
TV/Streaming: ACCN Extra/WatchESPN
Radio: Cuse.com/ESPN Syracuse 97.7 FM
Virginia Blog: Streaking the Lawn
Series Record: Syracuse leads 5-4
Streak: 1, Virginia
Last meeting: Virginia 68, Syracuse 63
The Orange fell short last year in a back-and-forth contest in Charlottesville. Syracuse started 12-1 last season, before entering conference play, then suffered back-to-back losses on the road to No. 2 Notre Dame and... yes, Virginia.
The Virginia lost was particularly hard for SU because they had a chance to win up until the last minute. The lead changed multiple times throughout the game, before UVA was able to pull away with just under one minute left in the game.
Aliyah Huland El led Virginia with 15 points. J’Kyra Brown and Felicia Aiyotan were second on the team with 12 points each, and Aiyotan was first on the team with 10 rebounds.
Tiana Mangakahia scored 20 points, dished eight assists, but also had a game-high 12 turnovers. And 15 of Mangakahia’s 20 points came from three-point range, as she finished 5-of-13 from three. Digna Strautmane was the only other SU player to score in double-figures with 10 points versus the Cavaliers.
Head Coaches: SU: Quentin Hillsman (13th season, 279-140); UVA: Tina Thompson (1st season, 8-12)
Coach Bio: UVA head coach Tina Thompson doesn’t need much of an introduction. The No. 1 overall pick in the 1997 WNBA draft spent 17 years in the league, ending her career as the league’s leading scorer when she retired in 2013. She was a four-time WNBA champion with the Houston Comets (1997-2000), an eight-time All-WNBA selection, nine-time WNBA All-Star, and won two Olympic Gold Medals (2004 & 2008).
In 2015, Thompson joined the coaching staff at Texas. As a great post player during her career, she focused on the development of the Longhorns’ post players during her three year tenure at Texas. UT recorded a 28-7 record in 2017-18, reaching NCAA Sweet 16 in Kansas City.
Last game: UVA got into a low-scoring affair with Wake Forest, falling 52-42 in Charlottesville. Wake got out to a 27-15 lead in the first half, and then sort of coasted the rest of the way. Dominique Toussaint was the only Hoos player to score in double digits, with 19 points on 7-of-18 shooting.
“Fear Me, I’ve Killed Hundreds of Timelords”: Despite Toussaint’s showing in the last outing, Jocelyn Wiloughby is the team’s leading scorer with 12.4 points per game. She hits 37.4 percent of her shots overall, and 44.4 percent of threes. She’s also the team’s top rebounder, with 7.5 per game.
If Syracuse Wins: The Orange will have momentum heading into a big matchup against #3 Louisville. The team will have a seven-day layoff between Thursday’s game versus UVA and the next contest in Louisville. A win would also keep Syracuse in the top-five of the ACC standings, as they are currently tied for fifth with Florida State and Clemons (SU beat Clemson 84-75 on January 3).
If Syracuse Loses: This will be the team’s third loss in four games, after starting 15-2 and 4-0 in the ACC. A loss would move Syracuse down in the ACC standings, when the team is hoping to gain ground, with the conference tournament in Greensboro, N.C. just over a month away.