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2 Syracuse women’s basketball players crack ESPN’s top newcomers list

Syracuse freshmen Kamilla Cardoso and Priscilla Williams both were named to ESPN’s Newcomer Impact List on Monday ahead of the 2020-21 season. The list recognizes the top 50 best incoming freshmen and transfers in women’s basketball.

For the Orange, it’s another reminder of the potential within its No. 4 recruiting class in the country. Cardoso is the fifth-best recruit in her class, which has the highest ranking in program history. Williams isn’t far behind at No. 9 overall. No other program has more than one freshman in the top 10. The two freshmen will look to help SU improve upon a 16-15 record a year ago, the program’s worst finish since 2006-07.

Cardoso, a 6-foot-7 center, was named the seventh-most impactful newcomer in the country. She profiles to become the centerpiece of SU’s 2-3 zone alongside former five-star forwards Emily Engstler and Digna Strautmane and former five-star center Amaya Finklea-Guity.

“(Cardoso’s) really picked up on what we’re doing,” head coach Quentin Hillsman said via Zoom on Oct 20. “When you have freshmen come in, it’s gonna be their ability to load all the information and actually do it. And she’s been doing a really good job of that.

”Williams, the sixth-best guard in her class, was named the 22nd-best newcomer in the country. At 6-foot-2, she’s already the tallest guard on the Orange roster. The Missouri native is now a part of a backcourt featuring two former All-Atlantic Coast first-team selections in redshirt senior Kiara Lewis and fifth-year Tiana Mangakahia — finally cleared after missing all of last season while battling Stage 2 breast cancer.