Matchup with UConn Awaits the Orange

Syracuse faces the vaunted Connecticut Huskies in the NCAA Championship Game on Tuesday.

If Syracuse is going to win the program's first National Championship, it will have to do so by pulling off what would be the biggest upset in women's college basketball history. They face undefeated UConn on Tuesday night. 

The same Connecticut Huskies who are 37-0 this season, have won 74 straight games overall and have won 10 National Titles. The same Connecticut Huskies that many who watch the sport consider this group the best women's college basketball team ever assembled. 

The same Connecticut Huskies who have unquestionably the best player in the sport right now in Breena Stewart. Stewart is also considered by many to be the best women's college basketball player of all-time. 

So, yes. This would be a monumental upset, no question. 

Ironically, Stewart picked UConn over the Orange four years ago when she was the number one recruit in the country and in Syracuse's back yard. She played at Cicero-North Syracuse High School and starred on a team that won multiple state titles. 

Stewart was unstoppable in high school and has been so in college as well. Even more irony is that she was AAU teammates with current Syracuse guard Brittney Sykes. Now the two square off with the championship on the line. 

What Syracuse has going for itself is that they feature a defense that forces more turnovers than anyone else in the country. If they were to win, forcing a lot of turnovers would certainly help. 

"We have to," head coach Quentin Hillsman said. "I don't know if we can play any other way right now. That's what we do. And we've had some success doing that. We understand that they're a very balanced team. Multiple ball handlers, they have quickness. And their post players can handle the ball.

"But we've got to try to do what we've done to get to this point. I don't think we can get to the last game in the season and change what we do."

Also, the Orange love shooting the three-ball and have several capable shooters. Brianna Butler is now the single-season record holder for three-pointers made. Alexis Peterson has shot very well from the outside in the postseason. Brittney Sykes has shown the ability to hit from deep as has Maggie Morrison off the bench. 

There is no easy way to say it. Syracuse enters this game as heavy underdogs. They are, on paper, overmatched. Connecticut has the better team, the best player and the track record. It should be fun seeing if the Orange have any magic left in them. 

"You gotta have balance to play against great teams," Hillsman said. "And we have some balance. We have to have some bodies get in the game that can contribute and help you. We have that, too. So all we can do is go out and play our game and then put a game plan in place that we feel like would be successful.

"So we're looking forward to the challenge."

Tune in Tuesday night at 8:30pm on ESPN. 


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