SYRACUSE, N.Y. (SYRACUSE ATHLETICS) – – For the second time in program history, the Syracuse University women’s basketball team has punched its ticket to the NCAA Tournament as a top-16 seed. The Orange have earned the right to host the first and second rounds this weekend in the Carrier Dome.
Third-seed Syracuse will host 14th-seed Fordham at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 23. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2.
It is the highest seed Syracuse has ever earned in the NCAA Tournament. Last time the Orange hosted the first and second rounds, they were tabbed as the four seed in the 2016 Tournament. Syracuse went on to reach the Final Four for the first time in program history, losing to UConn in the championship game.
The Orange are 24-8 this season and reached the semifinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament in Greensboro, N.C., last week. ‘Cuse is led by Nancy Lieberman Award finalist Tiana Mangakahia and a seasoned starting lineup that has started 62 of the last 63 games together.
Fordham, which earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament by claiming its first-ever Atlantic 10 Championship title, went 25-8 in the regular season. The Rams, who are currently riding a school record 12-game win streak, are led by head coach Stephanie Gaitley, who has guided the squad to three consecutive 20-win seasons.
The Rams’ duo of guard Bre Cavanaugh and forward Mary Goulding earned First Team All-Conference honors this year, becoming the first Fordham teammates to do so in the same season. Cavanaugh finished second in the league with a 17.3 points per game average, while Goulding leads the Rams in every statistical category besides scoring, field goals, and three-point makes.
Sixth-seed South Dakota State (26-6) and 11th-seed Quinnipiac (26-6) will also square off in the Carrier Dome this weekend. The Orange will play the winner in the second round Monday.
The Orange have now made the NCAA Tournament in seven-straight seasons and eight times under head coach Quentin Hillsman’s direction. This is the 10th NCAA Tournament berth in program history for Syracuse.
Eight ACC teams earned bids to this year’s tournament with Notre Dame and Louisville earning top seeds.