Date & Time: Thursday, February 7 at 11 a.m. ET
Location: Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, N.C.
TV/Streaming: Check your local RSN
Radio: 1070 AM AND 98.9 FM WINA
Virginia Blog: Streaking the Lawn
Series Record: Syracuse leads 6-4
Streak: 1, Syracuse
Last meeting: Syracuse 72, Virginia 68
This was a game that was close throughout, but a balanced attack by Syracuse led the Orange to victory. Tiana Mangakahia was setting her teammates up all night, finishing with a game-high 14 assists. She finished with a double-double as she added 16 points to go along with her 14 assists.
Mangakahia was one of only two players to score in double-figures for the Orange. The other was Digna Strautmane, who scored 14 points and pulled down six rebounds. Jocelyn Willoughby, Brianna Tinsley, and Lisa Jablonowski combined to scored 54 of Virginia’s 68 points.
Willoughby had a double-double, scoring 25 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Tinsley scored 19 points, and Jablonowski finished with 10. The other four players that scored for the Hoos went for a combined 14 points.
Despite only having two players scoring in double-digits, SU was able to get a contribution from many other players. Outside of Mangakahia and Strautmane, seven other players scored for the Orange, which helped lead the team to victory.
Head Coaches: SU: Quentin Hillsman (13th season, 285-143); UVA: Tina Thompson (1st season, 12-18)
Coach Bio: 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: The Hoos played an ugly first half and found themselves down 29-23 to Boston College in the first round of the ACC Tournament. But it was all Virginia in the second half, and they collected the 77-61 win. Willoughby led the way with 29 points, while Kyhasia Caldwell (12 points), Dominique Toussaint (11) and Lisa Jablonowski (10) all scored in double digits as well.
“Fear Me, I’ve Killed Hundreds of Timelords”: UVA rises and falls on the scoring of Jocelyn Willoughby. She’s averaged 14.7 points per game this season, and has scored at least 12 points in each of the last 10 games. Last time out against Syracuse, she scored 25 points — one of six times scoring 20 or more this season. She’s also the team’s leading rebounder, with 8.4 per game.
If Syracuse Wins: The Orange stay in contention for a 4-seed in the NCAA Tournament. They’ll face Miami on Friday with a chance to get to the ACC Tournament semifinals and secure the subregional hosting gig.
If Syracuse Losses: It doesn’t completely eliminate SU from getting a subregional in the NCAAs, but it’s certainly not going to help. As the 15th of 16 teams listed by the selection committee, they’re on pretty thin ice if they ended up getting upset by UVA.