SU women’s basketball to host opening rounds of NCAA Tournament, play Fordham

SU women's basketball to face Fordham in NCAA Tournament

Syracuse is competing for a national title for the seventh straight year.
Published: March 19, 2019
Syracuse head coach Quentin Hillsman coaches from the sidelines against Notre Dame at the ACC Women's Tournament on March 9, 2019.
In this file photo, Syracuse head coach Quentin Hillsman coaches from the sideline against Notre Dame at the ACC Women's Tournament on March 9, 2019.

The 3-seeded Syracuse women’s basketball is set to face Fordham University Rams in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament in the Portland region. The 3-seed is the highest seeding in program history.

Because Syracuse head coach Quentin Hillsman’s team finished in the top 16, the first two rounds of the tournament will take place in the Carrier Dome. The last time the Orange had home-court advantage in the early rounds, the team made it to the championship game against UConn in 2016.

Fordham enters the Portland region of the tournament as the 14-seed after winning the Atlantic 10 championship. The Rams started the season with a 5-5 record through the first ten games, but the team is now riding a 12-game winning streak.

This season, Syracuse and Fordham have had two opponents in common, Pitt and Duquesne. Both the Orange and the Rams beat the Dukes in the regular season. Syracuse won by 16 and Fordham won by 11 in a low-scoring matchup.

The Rams finished the season with an overall record of 25-8 and went 13-3 in their conference. The team’s leading scorer, Bre Cavanaugh, has led her team in points in 26 games and also led the team in rebounds in most games.

Senior Mary Goulding was recently named the 2019 Atlantic 10 Women’s Basketball Championship’s Most Outstanding Player for her impressive performance in the conference tournament. She averaged 20.7 points and made over 57 percent of her field goals.

The last time these two teams played was in 2014 for the Orange home season opener. In that matchup, Syracuse won 59-42 with a different roster, but the same coaches. Even though these two teams have not faced each other in over four years, Hillsman says in his early scouting report, “[Coach] Stephanie (Gaitley) also has a team that’s very competitive, and they have a chance to beat anyone in the country.”

Last season, Fordham did not make it into the NCAA tournament and this selection is only their third-ever appearance in the tournament. On the other side, Syracuse is competing for a national championship for the seventh straight year and the 10th time for the program.

The Orange exited early last season as an 8-seed after an 84-57 loss against the 9-seed Oklahoma State.

Junior Gabrielle Cooper said: “Last year our season ended unexpectedly in a way we really did not want it to, so now we feel like we have another chance to prove that we need to be here, to prove we can go far in this tournament. You know we can win the tournament.”

Syracuse will host Fordham on Saturday at 1 p.m. in the Carrier Dome.