A magical postseason run ends with an 82-51 loss to the hands of the UCONN Huskies, who have now won four straight titles and 75 straight games overall. While the season ended with a blowout loss, it did come agains the best program in the history of women’s college basketball during an unprecedented run.
But we need to focus on what this season had become. It was far an away the most successful season in Syracuse women’s basketball history. The Orange¬†finished the season winning 16 of its final 18 games, with the only two losses coming to #2 Notre Dame in the ACC Title game and #1 UCONN in the National Title game.
Tonight’s game ends the careers of the most accomplished senior class in program history. The class includes Brianna Butler, Brittney Sykes, Maggie Morrison, Cornelia Fondren, and Taylor Ford.
Butler is the programs all-time leader in three pointers made, and this season set the NCAA record for most threes made in a single season. She also finishes her career as the program’s 4th leading scorer.
Sykes showed resilience not seen in many players in any sport men’s or women’s coming back from two torn ACLs in the span of 10 months to come back this year. Down the stretch, Sykes started to gain more of her old form, having some of her best games of the season in the NCAA Tournament. She was named to the All-NCAA Tournament team, the Orange’s only representative. Sykes does have one more year of eligibility left, as she received a redshirt last year after playing just 3 games.
Fondren was a vital player of the bench who picked up a triple-double for the Orange in December, it was the programs first since the 1983-1984 season. Morrison a great two-way, “3 and D” player for the Orange, who had huge moments of her own including a career high 25 points– in just 16 minutes–¬†in a 36-point win over Duke in January. And Ford was a reliable player off the bench who had a few big games this year, including 15 over a top-10 Florida State team.
So this was the end of a truly great class, but just because they are leaving doesn’t mean the momentum is done. Arguably the team’s best player, point guard Alexis Peterson, comes back for another season. As do the Day twins, a pair of 6-4 centers. And Isabella Slim, who has started every game of her career through her junior year.
Even with the seniors graduating, the program is in a good place, especially with Coach Quentin Hillsman at the helm. Coach Q is arguably the most important coach in the program’s history, and at some point next season will move into first place on the program’s wins list.
A great run comes to an end, but even with the loss we need to look at this season as a great success.
Posted By: Seth Goldberg