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Syracuse women’s basketball predicted to finish third in ACC preseason poll

The Orange received two first place votes, while Tiana Mangakahia earned three votes for ACC Player of the Year.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Notre Dame at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team, led by All-Conference stars Tiana Mangakahia and Kiara Lewis, are picked to finish third in the Atlantic Coast Conference this season according to the league’s Coaches’ and Blue Ribbon Panel Preseason Polls.

Mangakahia and Lewis were named to the Preseason All-ACC Team, while freshman five-star recruit Kamilla Cardoso was recognized on the Newcomer Watch List. Mangakahia also earned three votes for ACC Player of the Year by the Blue Ribbon Panel.

Mangakahia sat out of the 2019-20 season while battling breast cancer. In just two years with the Orange, the Australian native has earned multiple accolades including All-ACC First Team honoree twice and was a 2019 WBCA All-America Honorable Mention selection. She was selected to the Nancy Lieberman Award Watch List for the third time in her career on Monday.

With Mangakahia out last year, it was Lewis’s turn to lead the Orange. She started in all 31 games for Syracuse and averaged 17.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 4.9 assists. Her performance in 2019-20 earned Lewis recognition on the All-ACC First Team and All-ECAC Second Team lists. She was also named the College Sports Madness National Player of the Week twice.

Cardoso is the highest-ranked recruit in Syracuse women’s basketball history at No. 5 in the country. She was a member of the McDonald’s All-American Team and the Jordan Brand Classic All-American Team in 2020. Most recently, Cardoso and fellow ‘Cuse freshman Priscilla Williams were ranked in the top-25 on ESPN’s Newcomer Impact Rankings.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 05 ACC Women’s Tournament - Syracuse v Virginia Photo by William Howard/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Orange received two first place votes and 724 points by the Blue Ribbon Panel Preseason Poll. ‘Cuse earned 193 points in the head coaches poll. Syracuse returns four of five starters from 2019-20 where they went 16-15 overall before the season was cancelled due to COVID-19. Coach Quentin Hillsman’s squad ranks No. 23 in ESPN’s Way-Too-Early Top-25 Poll.

Last year’s conference regular season champion Louisville earned the top spot on the standings, while NC State, the 2020 ACC Tournament Champion, is predicted to finish second.

Head Coaches & Blue Ribbon Panel Preseason Player of the Year

Dana Evans, Louisville, Sr., G

Head Coaches Preseason All-ACC Team

Taylor Soule, Boston College, Jr., F

Dana Evans, Louisville, Sr., G (12 Preseason Player of the Year Votes)

Janelle Bailey, North Carolina, Sr., C

Jakia Brown-Turner, NC State So., G

Elissa Cunane, NC State, Jr., C (3)

Kiara Lewis, Syracuse, Sr., G

Tiana Mangakahia, Syracuse, Gr., G

Elizabeth Kitley, Virginia Tech, So., C

Aisha Sheppard, Virginia Tech, Sr., G

Ivana Raca, Wake Forest, Sr., F

Head Coaches Newcomer Watch List

Hailey Van Lith, Louisville, Fr., G

Kianna Smith, Louisville, Jr., G

Deja Kelly, North Carolina, Fr., G

Maddy Westbeld, Notre Dame, Fr., F

Kamilla Cardoso, Syracuse, Fr., C

Head Coaches Predicted Order of Finish

  1. Louisville (13 first-place votes) - 223
  2. NC State (2) - 210
  3. Syracuse - 193
  4. North Carolina - 157
  5. Georgia Tech - 146
  6. Notre Dame - 138
  7. Virginia Tech - 125
  8. Florida State - 124
  9. Boston College - 120
  10. Miami - 99
  11. Duke - 74
  12. Wake Forest - 73
  13. Clemson - 56
  14. Pittsburgh - 37
  15. Virginia - 25

Blue Ribbon Panel Preseason All-ACC Team (57 voters)

Taylor Soule, Boston College, Jr., F (3)

Dana Evans, Louisville, Sr., G (40)

Janelle Bailey, North Carolina, Sr., C

Elissa Cunane, NC State, Jr., C (11)

Sam Brunelle, Notre Dame, So., F

Kiara Lewis, Syracuse, Sr., G

Tiana Mangakahia, Syracuse, Gr., G (3)

Elizabeth Kitley, Virginia Tech, So., C

Aisha Sheppard, Virginia Tech, Sr., G

Ivana Raca, Wake Forest, Sr., F

Blue Ribbon Panel Newcomer Watch List

Tiana England, Florida State, Gr., G

Hailey Van Lith, Louisville, Fr., G

Deja Kelly, North Carolina, Fr., G

Maddy Westbeld, Notre Dame, Fr., F

Kamilla Cardoso, Syracuse, Fr., C

Blue Ribbon Panel Predicted Order of Finish (57 voters)

  1. Louisville (45 first-place votes) – 840 points
  2. NC State (10) – 797 points
  3. Syracuse (2) – 724 points
  4. Notre Dame – 555 points
  5. North Carolina – 547 points
  6. Florida State – 516 points
  7. Virginia Tech – 482 points
  8. Boston College – 468 points
  9. Georgia Tech – 452 points
  10. Duke – 385 points
  11. Miami – 359 points
  12. Wake Forest – 258 points
  13. Clemson – 183 points
  14. Virginia – 149 points
  15. Pitt – 125 points