Could Alexander’s Draft Night Be A Turning Point for SU Women’s Hoops?

She made Syracuse history for her stock in the WNBA Draft.

Could this be a turning point for Syracuse women’s hoops? Orange center Kayla Alexander became the first ever WNBA first-round draft pick. The 6-foot-4 Canadian is the all-time leading scorer (2,024 points) in Syracuse history, and was taken eighth overall pick by the San Antonio Silver Stars.

It’s the type of event that could lure more talent to the Hill, if recruits feel like SU is a path to a paycheck. While SU lost in the first round of the NCAA women’s tourney to Creighton, Quentin Hillsman has led the program to 5 straight postseason appearances. This year the Orange also had its best record in program history through 29 games, going 23-6 entering postseason play. Syracuse was a three-seed in the Big East Chammpionship, its highest seeding in 25 years.

Alexander is one of the best players in program history, leaving with the school-record for blocked shots (350), field goals (736), free throws (552) and games played (140). Arguably Alexander was the centerpiece of the best four-year span in Orange women’s hoops history. She was a first-team All-Big East player this season, and her class set a school-record with 96 wins over a four-year span.

SU was 24-8 this year and beat Louisville during the regular-season, a team that played for the national championship. To put into perspective just how remarkable it is for an SU player to be taken in the WNBA draft, it’s only happened one other time. In ’01, Beth Record was taken… 64th. The final pick of the draft. The WNBA has been around since ’96, and only has 36 selections now.

Women’s hoops will never dominate the campus in the same way at SU as it does at UConn or Tennessee. Being one and done in the NCAA tourney is not a watershed moment either. But Coach Q has clearly built the program from the ground up, and it’s still ascending especially when your best player is a top 10 pick.

Can the women’s team ever carry headlines? Probably not. But can it be relevant, and a source of campus pride? Yeah. And if SU could recruit the next Elena Della Donne or Skyler Diggins, that would be kinda nice.

Posted: D.A.

18 Comments on this Post

  1. After syracuse beat Louisville in the regular season,Kayla came into the store and I asked her what she was going to do after graduation. Her reply was she wanted to be a teacher and it didn’t matter if it was in the USA or Canada. I told her that her dream of being a teacher would have to wait because she was going to get drafted and play in the WNBA. She gave a nervous smile and said that it would be nice to play in the pro’s. I’m real happy for her. I’m glad that she’s made the big time.

    Kayla isn’t the only one that will go pro after their career’s are over at Syracuse. Brittney Sykes and Brianna Stewart will definately go pro.

    Coach Quentin Hillsman has brought in another top 10 rated class for 2014 that have a set of 6’4″ twins.

    The future for Womens Basketball at Syracuse University is healthy and people should get excited about it.

    Next time Kayla comes into the store I’m going to give her a big hug and congratulate her on her getting drafted. You know D.A. good things do happen to good people.

  2. I made a mistake. It’s not Brianna Stewart that’s on the team it’s Brianna Butler that will join Brianna Stewart zand others in the pros when their college careers are over.

    I apologize to Brtianna Butler for making the mistake.

  3. Great showing for the SUWBB team. That program is growing quite nicely. Great Progress!! Coach Hillsman deserves the credit!!

    But its spring SUFB time. Where’s the info on SUFB team???????????

  4. BigSplash(dip)

    I watched wnba draft for #1-3, then the unexpected…Congrats to KA, she helped SU “turn the corner..” already! 90+ games is awesome, and leaving the program in better shape.. priceless! Morrow & KA…. 1st MCDAA & 1st program stud… the brand of wbball at su has been elevated by these two!

    * SU has been pulling monster classes & winning 20+ seasons frequently, their arrival was apparent b4 the ’13 wnba draft. Did @FUZZ not see Brit Sykes ballout atda ’12 McDAA .. @FUZZ.. rip van winkles..

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