Syracuse’s Hillsman schedules with an eye toward NCAAs
NEW YORK (AP) — Quentin Hillsman is already thinking ahead to March and the NCAA Tournament.
Syracuse’s coach scheduled up in the early part of the season with games against No. 3 Oregon and No. 20 Texas A&M with the hopes of playing well and potentially getting a home game in the opening weekend of the NCAAs.
“I think hosting the NCAA Tournament worked out good for us,” Hillsman said after the team beat Texas A&M on Wednesday. “Try to get those games back in the Dome again. We’re very much conscious of how we schedule and who we schedule. I remember awhile back sitting in the room for selection the year we were left out. ... I can’t blame it on our schedule anymore. I told the (kids) I schedule this way on purpose because I thought we were good enough. The teams that we scheduled and tournaments we’re going to, they are very good teams. We’re not playing any bad teams in those neutral site games. It’s about trying to host these games and be at home (for the NCAAs).”
Syracuse hosted the opening two rounds of the NCAAs in 2016 and advanced to the title game that year.
Here are other things that happened in women’s college basketball this past week:
REACHING A MILESTONE: C. Vivian Stringer became the fifth Division I coach and sixth overall to reach the 1,000-win mark on Tuesday night when Rutgers beat Central Connecticut State. Stringer joined Pat Summitt, Geno Auriemma, Tara VanDerveer and Sylvia Hatchell in the club. Division II coach Barbara Stevens, of Bentley College, also has reached 1,000 victories, as well as Duke men’s coach Mike Krzyzewski.
BIG 12 DOMINANCE: The Big 12 was the last conference to lose a game this season after starting the year 26-0. The Big 12 is 30-2 through the first 13 days of the season and the league has two wins over Top 25 teams, with Baylor beating then-No. 23 Arizona State and Iowa State’s victory over No. 24 Miami. The Cyclones claimed the Preseason WNIT with that victory — the fifth time a Big 12 program won the WNIT since 2002 and the first since Baylor did it in 2015.
FIRST OF MANY: Tina Thompson won the first game as head coach when Virginia beat Old Dominion 72-67 on Sunday. The Cavaliers dropped their opening two games, losing to No. 6 Mississippi State and Kentucky.
TRIPLE DOUBLE: Rider guard Stella Johnson recorded the first triple-double in women’s basketball history at the school when the team beat Mount St. Mary’s 85-67 on Saturday. Johnson had a career-high 35 points on an efficient 14-of-19 shooting from the field to go along with 12 rebounds, 10 assists and six steals. Johnson is now 11 behind NCAA career leader Sabrina Ionescu, who got her 12th one on Sunday. She did it while only hitting one field goal for No. 3 Oregon in a win over Buffalo. The junior guard had 10 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds, getting it with a rebound with 1:24 left.
SAD NEWS: South Florida senior guard Kitija Laksa suffered a torn ACL and meniscus in her right knee on Thursday night when the No. 21 Bulls beat Bethune-Cookman 88-39.
The 6-foot Laksa, who played for her home country Latvia in the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup earlier this year, led South Florida in scoring the past two seasons. She averaged 19.2 points as a sophomore and 21.1 points last year. Laksa, who was averaging 16.3 points this season, set an NCAA record with 11 consecutive 3s in a game last year.
FIRE WOES: Ohio State’s trip to play Stanford and Sacramento State was cancelled because of the poor air quality in Northern California. The Buckeyes were going to play Sacramento State on Friday and Stanford on Sunday. The teams will work on rescheduling the games for next year.
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