#21 Syracuse Women's Basketball 2020-2021 Preview

Syracuse Orange
Overall Rank: #21
Conference Rank: #4 ACC
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Syracuse had a disappointing 2019-2020 campaign, finishing with a 16-15 record. Considering the circumstances, it was understandable. Tiana Mangakahia missed the season after being diagnosed with cancer prior to the start of the season. In 2018-2019, Mangakahia was an All-ACC First-Team honoree behind 16.9 points and 8.4 assists per game. She is back for this this season though and that alone catapults the Orange back towards the top of the ACC.
2019-20 Record: 16-15, 9-9
Coach: Quentin Hillsman
Coach Record: 304-160 at Syracuse, 304-160 overall
Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Gabrielle Cooper, Guard, 8.6 ppg
Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Kiara Lewis, Senior, Guard, 17.6 ppg
Emily Engstler, Junior, Guard, 9.0 ppg
Digna Stautmane, Senior, Forward, 8.6 ppg
Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi, Junior, Forward, 8.0 ppg
Amaya Finklea-Guity, Senior, Center, 6.5 ppg
Teisha Hyman, Sophomore, Guard, 6.5 ppg
Taleah Washington, Sophomore, Guard, 3.1 ppg
Tiana Mangakahia, Senior, Guard, dnp last season
Key New Players
Faith Blackstone, Freshman, Guard
Kamilla Cardoso, Freshman, Center
Kiara Fisher, Freshman, Guard
Maud Huijbens, Freshman, Forward
Ava Irvin, Freshman, Guard
Khamya McNeal, Freshman, Guard
Pricilla Williams, Freshman, Guard
The return of Mangakahia is huge for the Orange, but Syracuse also returns six key players from last season and brings in a great recruiting class. Kiara Lewis emerged as the team’s top scorer last year, averaging 17.6 points per game. Lewis is capable of hitting some three-pointers, but the point guard is at her best when she is attacking the basket. Emily Engstler is a versatile 6-1 guard who tallied 9.0 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. With Digna Stautmane, Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi and Amaya Finlea-Guity adding plenty of size to the frontcourt, this is a big Orange team. Last year Coach Quentin Hillsman started three players who were legitimate shot blocking threats with another one ready to go on the bench. That can be tough for the opposition to deal with, but the Orange were not all that good defensively last season. The hope is the new found depth will help in that regard. Some of that depth will come from a group of seven freshmen. Kamilla Cardoso and Priscilla Williams are both top ten recruits in this class and both of them have the talent to make a big impact right away. With so much experience returning though, Syracuse will have the luxury of not forcing them into major minutes right away.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 68.1 (111th in nation, 7th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 66.3 (228, 10)
Field-Goal Percentage: 38.0 (264, 14)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.2 (139, 10)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.5 (53, 3)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 28.0 (294, 13)
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.6 (177, 9)
Rebound Margin: 0.2 (175, 12)
Assists Per Game: 12.9 (165, 9)
Turnovers Per Game: 15.2 (142, 6)
Madness 2020 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#5 Kamilla Cardoso
#8 Priscilla Williams
#111 Faith Blackstone