Syracuse University Magazine

Orange Magic

SU women's and men's basketball teams make Final Four runs

The Syracuse women’s and men’s basketball teams ignited Orange Nation into an NCAA Final Four frenzy when both squads stormed into the national semifinals for the first time in SU history—a feat accomplished by only eight other universities. After winning the Sioux Falls Regional to earn their first ever Final Four appearance, the Orange women ousted Washington to advance to the NCAA championship game against UConn. Their storied season ended with an 82-51 loss to UConn, which collected its fourth straight title. The SU women posted a 30-8 record, the most wins in program history. The Orange men knocked off Virginia to capture the Midwest Regional—and make their sixth trip to the Final Four.


Coach Quentin Hillsman and the SU women’s basketball team celebrate winning the NCAA’s Sioux Falls Regional after trouncing Tennessee, 89-67, in the final. At the Final Four in India-napolis, the Orange women rolled past Washington, 80-59, to reach the championship game for the first time in program history. En route to the title game, the fourth-seeded Orange picked up two wins in the Carrier Dome (Army West Point and Albany), then knocked off top-seed South Carolina in a Sweet Sixteen matchup before eliminating Tennessee.


The SU men’s basketball team put together an inspiring NCAA tournament run to reach the Final Four with a 68-62 victory over top-seed Virginia in the NCAA Midwest Regional final in Chicago. The win advanced the Orange to the Final Four in Houston, where they lost to North Carolina, 83-66. It was the fifth trip to the Final Four for Coach Jim Boeheim ’66, G’73, whose Orange finished the season with a 23-14 record. Syracuse was the first 10th seed—and only the fourth double-digit seed—in tournament history to reach the national semifinals. Freshman guard Malachi Richardson (holding trophy) was named the Midwest Regional MVP.


Guard Cornelia Fondren ’16 leads a fast break against UConn. While the SU women were powered by pressure defense and three-point shooting during their first 30-win season, UConn proved indomitable in the NCAA final, riding a 75-game win streak to its 11th championship.

Petey-Drive.jpgGuard Alexis Peterson ’17 (left) scored 18 points against Washington to help SU move on to the NCAA final.


Syracuse guards Brittney Sykes ’15, G’16 (left) and Brianna Butler ’16 swarm Washington’s Chan tel Osahor. Butler led the Orange’s potent three-point attack, setting an NCAA single-season record for three-point field goals (129). 

Women's basketball photos courtesy of SU Athletic Communications/Stephen Parker


Trevor Cooney ’15, G’16 shows the hustle and determination against North Carolina that helped define this season’s scrappy Orange, which benefited greatly from the leadership of Cooney and Michael Gbinije ’15, G’16 (right).


Forwards Tyler Lydon ’19 and Tyler Roberson ’17 battle Virginia players for a rebound in the Midwest Regional final.


Vice President Joe Biden L’68 offers encouraging words to the Syracuse players after their Final Four loss in Houston to North Carolina. 

Men's basketball photos courtesy of SU Athletic Communications/Michael J. Okoniewski