Syracuse women’s basketball doesn’t have nearly the history of the men’s program. The women have made the NCAA Tournament 11 times. In 10 of those trips the season ended in either the first or second rounds. And then there was 2016, the greatest season in program history. In that run Brittney Sykes’ tenacity played a huge part.
The Orange raced all the way to the Championship Game where they met their hated historic rival, and women’s powerhouse UConn. SU would fall in defeat, overmatched by a machine of a dynasty, 81-52. But along the way Syracuse and Sykes put on a show for the ages.
The program has one Sweet 16 appearance, one Elite 8 and one Final Four. And in those games (all wins) Sykes was a big reason why. She was the only SU player on the All-Final Four Team. She helped SU pull off a shocker over 1-seed South Carolina.
A Newark (NJ) native with toughness and grit true to her roots, she finished her SU career third all-time in scoring. She had more starts (137) than any player in program history. She finished in the top 10 in so many major categories it was hard to keep track, including third with 670 field goals made, fourth with 409 career free throws made and fifth with 266 steals.
Her success has continued past college. She was a top 10 pick of the WNBA and immediately grew into a difference maker, landing on the All-Rookie team and being named to the All-Star ballot. Video of her signing an autograph for an adoring (and crying) young fan went viral last year. Sykes goes down as one of the greatest players ever for SU, and will forever be synonymous with the greatest run in program history.