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Hoop Dreams Endure At SU

‘Cuse men’s and women’s hoops teams prepare for ACC tourneys.

Syracuse women's basketball coach Quentin Hillsman during a game against Niagara. Michael Davis photo

The Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team, which reached the NCAA Tournament championship game last season for the first time in school history, will start its quest for another long postseason run this week in the second round of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament.

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The 20th-ranked Orange (20-9 overall, 11-5 in the ACC) is the No. 6 seed in the tournament. It will face the winner of the Wednesday, March 1, game between No. 14 North Carolina and No. 11 Pitt on Thursday, March 2, 8 p.m., at the HTC Center in Conway, S.C. If Syracuse wins that game, it will face No. 3 seed and 13th-ranked Duke (25-4, 13-3) in the quarterfinals on Friday, March 3, 8 p.m.

During the regular season, the Orange swept Pittsburgh 93-65 at the Carrier Dome and 73-57 in the regular-season finale Feb. 26 at Pittsburgh. Syracuse defeated North Carolina 95-64 at the Dome and lost at Duke 77-52.

The Orange is led by a trio of tournament-tested seniors: guards Alexis Peterson and Brittney Sykes and center Briana Day. The trio is averaging a combined 56.5 points per game and they’ve each scored in double figures in seven consecutive games.

“I’m really happy for our kids and I’m really proud of them,” SU coach Quentin Hillsman said after the Orange defeated Pittsburgh Feb. 26. “We lose five seniors and we still come into the best conference in the country and find a way to win 11 games, starting a freshman (guard Gabby Cooper). It’s a remarkable feat for our kids. I couldn’t be happier or more proud of them.”

Senior Day for Orange Men

John Gillon puts the moves on Jayson Tatum of Duke in SU’s win against the Blue Devils in the Carrier Dome Feb. 22. Michael Davis photo | Syracuse New Times

The Syracuse men’s basketball team will honor seniors DaJuan Coleman, John Gillon, Tyler Roberson, Andrew White and walk-on Doyin Akintobi-Adeyeye Sr. before the regular-season finale against Georgia Tech on Saturday, March 4, 4 p.m., at the Carrier Dome.

After losing at Louisville Feb. 26, the Orange (17-13, 9-8 in the ACC) will need to defeat Georgia Tech (16-13, 7-9) to enhance its NCAA Tournament resume and avoid a first-round game in the ACC Tournament that starts Tuesday, March 7, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. All 15 ACC teams qualify for the tournament, with the bottom six playing in the first round and the top four receiving double-byes.

Tickets for Saturday’s game are available online at Cuse.com, by phone at (888) DOME-TIX or in person at Gate B in the Carrier Dome.

Chiefs Host Open House

The Syracuse Chiefs will hold their annual open house Saturday, March 4, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at NBT Bank Stadium. With the baseball season just around the corner, fans will be able to purchase individual game tickets, audition for singing the national anthem, take a swing in the batting cages, shop in the souvenir store, and meet mascots Scooch and Pops.

In addition to individual game tickets, season tickets, Flex Plans, Flex Plan Pluses, and Super Packs (four reserved box seats, four hot dogs, four sodas, one tub of popcorn and four giveaway items for $60) will also be on sale. At 10:30 a.m. in the Hank Sauer Room of Legends, Chiefs general manager Jason Smorol will release the 2017 promotional schedule, update fans on what’s new for this season, and host a question-answer session.

For more information on the open house or ticket plans, contact the Chiefs’ office at 474-7833 or email Jeffrey Irizarry at jeff@syracusechiefs.com.

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