(AP) – Syracuse didn't work this hard in earning the right to host the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament only to relinquish the edge to the two other teams competing there that own a New York zip code.
The fourth-seeded Orange begin play Friday against one of those squads when they take on Army at the Carrier Dome.
''I know a lot of teams don't talk about those things, but we're brutally honest, and we talked about what it would take to play at home,'' coach Quentin Hillsman said. ''And our girls took care of that business, and we're here.''
After losing 68-57 to Notre Dame in the ACC championship game and having its 11-game winning streak come to an end, Syracuse earned its highest seed in eight tournament appearances, and also best among the seven New York-based schools in the tournament. Albany meets Florida in Friday's other game at the Carrier Dome.
The 14th-ranked Orange (25-7) will face the Patriot League champion Black Knights (29-2) in a game featuring two of the nation's most accomplished 3-point shooters.
Syracuse senior Brianna Butler leads the country with 355 3s since the beginning of the 2012-13 season while Kelsey Minato ranks third with 327 for 13th-seeded Army, which enters on a school-record 19-game win streak.
The Black Knights' last loss came at Bucknell on Jan. 2 and their other defeat was at then-No. 14 Duke on Nov. 22.
''This team never ceased to amaze me this year,'' coach Dave Magarity said. ''Sort of mind blowing we're 29-2. The way we got there. The teams we beat along the way.''
Minato scored 25 in the conference championship game against Loyola, Md. She's seventh in the nation with 23.6 points per contest.
''It feels awesome,'' Minato said. ''It's something we've been working towards since the end of last season. We found missing pieces of the puzzle. People have embraced their role. Each girl has contributed to what we've been able to accomplish. I'm so proud of this team.''
In 10 seasons under Hillsman, the Orange are 77-4 against nonconference opponents on their own court. They had a 72-game win streak there snapped in a 61-54 loss to then-No. 24 Arizona State on Dec. 12.
Army is in the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three seasons, while Syracuse is making a fourth straight appearance. The Black Knights lost 90-52 to Maryland in their opening game in 2014, and Syracuse has been eliminated in the second round in each of the last two seasons.