Syracuse Women's Basketball 2013 NCAA Tournament Capsule

Syracuse Orange
Big East (24-7, 11-5)


There have not been many better stories in women’s college basketball during the 2012-2013 campaign than that of Syracuse. Few expected the Orange to compete for a Big East title. This is not a team on the same level as Notre Dame or Connecticut, yet they hung around the title chase well into February.

Big Wins: 1/15 DePaul (84-80), 1/23 at St. John’s (60-57), 3/4 Louisville (68-57)
Bad Losses: 12/2 at Temple (67-74), 2/23 at South Florida (66-68), 3/2 Villanova (75-77)
Coach: Quentin Hillsman

Why They Can Surprise:
Coach Quentin Hillsman’s high pressure 2-3 zone has caused havoc for most opposing offenses. With steal machine Brittney Sykes leading the group on the perimeter and 6-4 center Kayla Alexander blocking shots under the basket, the Orange defense can be a tough nut to crack. Alexander has been underrated for the most part. She is Syracuse’s all-time leader in scoring and shot blocking. The pressure defense can also be the catalyst for the offense. This is a Syracuse team that thrives on fast breaks and transition points. With four guards surrounding Alexander, the Orange can get down the floor in a hurry once they create a turnover. Elashier Hall, Carmen Tyson-Thomas, Brianna Butler and Sykes can all score in transition. And when the Cuse are in the half-court offense, they can play through Alexander and get some shooting from Butler and reserve Rachel Coffey.

Why They Can Disappoint:
One thing that Orange can struggle with is turnovers. Part of that is due to the style of play, but Syracuse also starts three freshmen. Corneilia Fondren, Butler and Sykes have done a great job, but things change in March. The turnover problem is a team issue. Fondren and Coffey have made smart decisions for the most part, but sometimes this is a team that can get a bit too excited about trying and get off on the break when it may be wiser to slow it down and run the offense through Alexander. And it will not just be the freshmen who could be a tad intimidated by the NCAA Tournament. The Orange have not been to the NCAA Tournament since 2008, so this will be a new experience for even the most experienced players on the squad. Quality runs through the NIT in 2010, 2011 and 2012 are nice building blocks, but a run through the 2013 NCAA Tournament is a big step.

Probable Starters:
Corneilia Fondren, Freshman, Guard, 2.4 ppg, 2.7 apg
Brianna Butler, Freshman, Guard, 7.3 ppg, 1.3 apg
Brittney Sykes, Freshman, Guard, 9.0 ppg, 1.2 apg, 5.0 rpg
Elashier Hall, Senior, Guard, 10.1 ppg, 2.0 apg, 5.9 rpg, 2.3 spg
Kayla Alexander, Senior, Center, 17.7 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 3.0 bpg

Key Roleplayers:
Rachel Coffey, Junior, Guard, 5.7 ppg, 4.7 apg
Shakeya Leary, Junior, Center, 3.9 ppg, 3.0 rpg
Carmen Tyson-Thomas, Senior, Guard, 10.6 ppg, 2.0 apg, 6.2 rpg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 73.7 (15th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 57.1 (78, 6)
Field-Goal Percentage: 40.4 (99, 7)
Field-Goal Defense: 34.2 (15, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.4 (55, 5)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 29.9 (166, 9)
Free-Throw Percentage: 71.8 (83, 4)
Rebound Margin: 6.4 (33, 3)
Assists Per Game: 15.8 (32, 4)
Turnovers Per Game: 16.9 (158, 10)

Recent Postseason Appearances:
2012    NIT        First Round win over Hartford
2012    NIT        Second Round win over Drexel
2012    NIT        Third Round win over Temple
2012    NIT        Quarterfinal win over Toledo
2012    NIT        Semifinal loss to James Madison
2011    NIT        Regional Semifinal win over Eastern Michigan
2011    NIT        Round of 64 win over Monmouth
2011    NIT        Round of 32 win over St. Bonaventure
2011    NIT        Regional Final loss to Toledo
2010    NIT        Round of 64 win over Harvard
2010    NIT        Round of 32 win over Richmond
2010    NIT        Regional Semifinal win over VCU
2010    NIT        Regional Final loss to Michigan
2009    NIT        First Round win over Canisius
2009    NIT        Second Round loss to Bowling Green
2008    NCAA        Round of 64 loss to Hartford

*all team stats through 3/7


See All Women’s Basketball Postseason Capsules