For the first time in the program's history, the Syracuse University women's basketball team won both games in the opening weekend of the NCAA tournament, putting them in the Sweet Sixteen. The team won their 27th game, also a record.
SU's head coach Quentin Hillsman, who in years past was known more for his sartorial splendor than for his team's play, has slowly and methodically built a successful program on the hill, noted
It's just an amazing feeling for our players. They work so hard and they really deserve this moment. I am happy for them. We are really excited to be moving on to the next round.The women played at the Carrier Dome, and beat Army on Friday afternoon and Albany this afternoon. They won both games handily.
Meanwhile, out in St. Louis, the men's team beat Dayton in a grudge match on Friday, the Flyers having knocked SU out of the tourney the last time out, in 2014 (SU sat out last year under a self-imposed penalty). And they won handily just moments ago against Cinderella team Middle Tennessee State, who knocked off second seed Michigan State in the first round.
The Orange had muddled their way through Coach Jim Boeheim's nine-game suspension, and lost five of their last six games to close out the season, including a first round loss in the ACC tourney. Many, including me, had doubts about whether they'd even get an invitation to the Big Dance. Now, in the vernacular, the team is "peaking at the right time" and have picked up wins 20 and 21, something that usually happens before the end of February.
Two SU teams in the Sweet Sixteen is sweet, indeed.
Good luck to both teams, and let's go Orange!