WBB : Dance game: SU looks to build tournament resume with win over St. John’s

first_img Published on February 17, 2011 at 12:00 pm Comments Facebook Twitter Google+center_img The Syracuse women’s basketball team’s 53-45 slugfest win over Louisville gave the team multiple reasons to be excited.First, the victory brought the Orange back to .500 in the Big East. It gave SU some confidence heading into the final stretch of the regular season. And it inched the team closer to a 20-win season.But perhaps more importantly, it added a resume-strengthening win in Syracuse’s last chance to do so at home this year.‘I think it was important to protect your home floor,’ senior guard Erica Morrow said. ‘It’s so hard to win tough games on the road that you need to protect your home floor and win as many as possible when you have the advantage.’The matchup with Louisville marked the beginning of a critical two-game swing for the Orange (18-7, 6-6), with the postseason rapidly approaching. Entering this week, ESPN placed Syracuse just outside its projected NCAA tournament field in the ‘last four out’ group. But both the Cardinals and St. John’s, who SU plays Saturday at 3 p.m. in New York City, were in the field of 64. With only three games left after the weekend, this may be Syracuse’s last chance to earn a resume-building win in the regular season.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text‘We knew how big Louisville was going in because we knew exactly where they were in all that,’ SU head coach Quentin Hillsman said. ‘Obviously, going into St. John’s, it’s the same thing.’Before the win against the Cardinals, Syracuse’s slate of victories was void of many signature wins. The best was a Jan. 22 triumph at Marquette. A win over then-No. 6 Ohio State on Dec. 11 in the Carrier Dome has lost most of its luster as the Buckeyes have limped to a 15-9 mark.Other than those wins, the Orange has missed a slew of opportunities. The Big East schedule has provided plenty of chances for SU to beat tournament teams, but it has struggled against its more talented counterparts.Add those blundered chances to an RPI of 63 and strength of schedule that ranks 95th in the country, and ESPN projected Syracuse to barely miss the tournament.‘Normally, they’re pretty accurate,’ Hillsman said. ‘You’ve almost got to look at it and say, ‘Hey, that’s kind of where we are.”But this week could be the difference for Syracuse’s tournament chances.It already pulled out the win over Louisville, adding another decent win to the resume. St. John’s may be a taller task on the road, but as Hillsman said, a victory in New York would be just as important — if not more — as the win Wednesday in the Dome.‘I think it’s very important that we just finish the season strong,’ sophomore guard Elashier Hall said. ‘Right now, we’re 6-6. It’s OK, but we would love to finish out these games.’And in fact, a win over the Red Storm may be Syracuse’s last chance at a resume-improving victory. Its first two opponents after St. John’s are Cincinnati and Providence, both of whom have losing records. After that, SU travels to Storrs, Conn., for a bout with No. 2 Connecticut, who it hasn’t beaten since 1996.A victory over UConn could certainly be the golden ticket for the Orange to get into the tournament. But as that hasn’t happened in 15 years, SU’s performance this week could be the decisive factor for the Orange’s tournament goals.Syracuse already took one major step toward the field of 64 with the win over Louisville on Wednesday. And back-to-back wins over projected tournament teams would certainly improve its chances.‘I think it’d be really important,’ Hillsman said. ‘We’re not going to downplay the game. It’s a very important game playing against a great team, and we’ve got to go down there and get it done.’[email protected]last_img

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