Countdown to #ACCTipoff: Syracuse Orange



  • •   Syracuse makes its ACC debut after a finishing its final BIG EAST season 24-8 overall, finishing third in the conference with a 11-5 record and advancing to the program’s fifth NCAA Tournament. The Orange finished the 2012-13 season ranked 22nd in both the AP and ESPN/USA TODAY polls. It’s .750 winning percentage was the best in program history.
  • •   Headlining the Orange’s nine returners and three returning starters are a pair of 2013 BIG EAST All-Freshman selections, sophomore guards Brianna Butler (7.2 ppg) and Brittney Sykes (8.9 ppg). The pair of 2012 McDonald’s All-Americans will look to lead the Orange into the ACC.
  • •   The Orange’s one-two point guard punch returns in the form of sophomore Cornelia Fondren and senior Rachel Coffey. Fondren started 31 of 32 games at the point as a freshman, while Coffey came off the bench to rank second in the BIG EAST in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.1) and fourth in assists per game (4.8). The pair engineered an offense that ranked 18th nationally in scoring (72.0 ppg).
  • •   Head coach Quentin Hillsman welcomes a talented class of five freshmen, ranked as the 12th-best recruiting class in the country by Blue Star Basketball Report. The class is comprised of 6-1 guard Tasia Butler (Waldorf, Md.; No. 58 recruit by Blue Star), 6-4 forward Bria Day (Raleigh, N.C.; No. 36 forward by ESPN Hoopgurlz), 6-4 forward Briana Day (Raleigh, N.C.; No. 34 overall by Blue Star), 5-6 guard Alexis Peterson (Columbus, Ohio; three-time Ohio All-State), and 5-11 guard Isabella Slim (Amsterdam, Netherlands; Dutch U19 National Team member).
  • •   Syracuse features two sets of sisters on the team in 2013-14: redshirt junior guard Tiara Butler and freshman guard Tasia Butler, from Waldorf, Md., and freshmen twins Bria and Briana Day, from Raleigh, N.C.
  • •   Syracuse’s fullcourt pressure defense and halfcourt 2-3 zone led to the Orange ranking in the top four in the BIG EAST in five defensive statistical categories: first in 3FG% (.274), first  in steals per game (12.4), second in FG% defense (.346), third in blocks (5.4 per game), and fourth in caused turnovers (20.3 per game).
  • •   Syracuse looks to replace a graduating class of four which included three 1,000-point scorers and the program’s all-time leading scorer in All-American Kayla Alexander (2,024), Carmen Tyson-Thomas (1,230) and Elashier Hall (1,108).