Syracuse Women’s Basketball Head Coach Quentin Hillsman addressed the media Tuesday morning over zoom to discuss the upcoming season and the determination he has during this unique, but exciting year in women’s college basketball.
After the Orange’s season was cut short last year by way of COVID-19, there was no guarantee the 2020-2021 season would be played. Reluctantly, the NCAA announced the seasons return which is scheduled to begin the day before Thanksgiving on Wednesday, November 25.
Coach Hillsman knows that once the media starts coming around it’s always a good sign because it means we are getting one step closer to the season beginning. Since we are still in the middle of the pandemic, Coach Hillsman says the number one priority for the Orange going into the season is keeping his players COVID free.
“Practice has been going well. We are healthy. That is the most important thing right now.”
The women on the roster have been looking sharp and are working hard every day. They have been able to get their fair share of reps in during the couple of practices they have had thus far. With everything that has been going on in our country, Coach Hillsman is just happy be in the situation his team is in right now.
“We have a full roster. We are able to really be competitive in practice. We are able to do some things that we have not been able to do in the past because of our numbers. We have solid numbers and we have 15 players on the floor every day,” Hillsman said.
The depth on their roster this year will be one of the most important keys to success for the Orange. Going into every game the expectations are to be able to crank up the pace and the pressure on both ends of the floor.
It is one of the team’s goals going into every game to be able to utilize as much depth on their roster as possible. Coach Hillsman was able to bring in seven new freshmen this year and the return of their star guard Tiana Mangakahia will be essential for their success.
“Tiana has been great. Tiana’s comeback and she’s been playing well, and I think she looks fantastic. Hopefully she continues to play that way and have no setbacks.”
Despite coming into the season as early underdogs, Coach Hillsman wants his players to come in determined to win. One of the things he has not been able to do in over four years is compete for a National Championship.
“I want them to play hard, I want them to be motivated, and I want them to come into the season with a purpose. The purpose every year is to win a National Championship and that’s our goal. We have a lot of talent and we are going to be able to play with anybody in the country.”
As we are just about a month away from tip-off, Coach Hillsman’s Orange are confident they will prove many wrong this upcoming season. With their star player back in Tiana, a full roster, and new faces hungry for experience; the Orange are excited to make a strong run this upcoming season. The Orange might have their hands full having to defend off both the pandemic and many elite teams this year, but it will not stop them from their task at hand.