Syracuse guards Sykes, Peterson selected in WNBA Draft

Backcourt duo led SU to a 22-8 record and an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2016-17.

Syracuse guards Brittney Sykes and Alexis Peterson were both selected in the WNBA draft on Thursday night. The pair started all 33 games in the Orange backcourt last season and combined to average 42.6 points per contest. 

“Over the last few years, we have proven that we have high-level players, All-Americans and professional players,” Syracuse head coach Quentin Hillsman said in a press release. “Their selections tonight are a testament to what we have built at Syracuse. I cannot overstate how happy I am for both players.”

Sykes became the highest-drafted player in SU history when she was selected seventh overall by the Atlanta Dream. She was drafted one pick higher than former Orange center Kayla Alexander, who was selected eighth overall by the San Antonio Stars in 2013.

Sykes averaged 19.2 points and 7.8 rebounds per game in 2016-17 while shooting 39.3 percent from behind the 3-point line. Her 1,846 career points ranks third in program history. Sykes averaged 13.4 points per contest and started 137 games over her five-year collegiate career.

“It feels good to know that I left my mark here [at Syracuse],” Sykes said in a press release. “Now, I am ready to live my dream of playing professional basketball.”

The Seattle Storm drafted Peterson with the third pick of the second round—15th overall. As a senior at SU, Peterson was named an Associated Press Second-Team All-American and averaged a team-high 23.4 points per game. She also added seven assists per contest and shot 42.3 percent from the field.

“It is such a blessing to be selected by the Seattle Storm,” Peterson said in a press release. “It is crazy to say. I have been wanting this since I picked up a basketball. This really means a lot.”

Peterson and Sykes led Syracuse to 30 wins and an unexpected NCAA Championship Game appearance in 2015-16. The Orange followed that with a 22-8 record in 2016-17 and a trip to the NCAA Tournament. SU’s season ended with a 94-64 loss to UConn in the second round. 

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